By Derek Brown
The Norman Transcript
STILLWATER — Stillwater and Norman were two teams wanting a district victory. The cycle of the game proved it.
The Pioneers’ Jon Littell stepped up to the plate with two outs and Ryan Wieligman on third base with the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning. Littell hit the ball just inside of third base and brought in the game-winning run for a 5-4 victory.
“That last run shouldn’t have mattered because the last two runs were unearned,” Norman coach Pete Sangirardi said. “We’ve got to pitch ahead in the count.”
Littell was 1 for 4 when he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Stillwater moved to (22-1, 9-0) on the season. This was the Pioneers’ 21st victory in a row.
Carson Teel started on the mound for the Pioneers. Teel accounted for four strike outs and gave up seven hits and four runs. The lefty had to find strength towards the end of the game — which he did and went seven innings for the win.
Norman dropped to 12-9 on the year with a 3-6 record in district play.
Norman’s P.J. Gransted went down in the third inning and did not return due to a rolled ankle. The Tigers inserted Breaden Armstrong and then Mo Chaudhry took over in the fifth and went the rest of the way.
“These guys have been able to battle back all year. They’ve never given up,” Sangirardi said. “That’s one of our top two pitchers you never want to see that happen but there’s nothing you can do. ... Somebody else has to step up.”
The first inning was scoreless but Stillwater got on the scoreboard in the second inning with Tyler Burnett crossing the plate. Burnett walked and then was hit to third by Harrison Cornforth. Burnett sprinted home after Norman’s Gransted tossed a wild pitch for a 1-0 Pioneer lead.
During the third inning Norman’s Gransted attempted to field a ball at his feet. When he did Gransted came away injured and the Tigers put Breaden Armstrong on the mound.
The fourth inning is where Norman took the lead on a four-run inning. The Tigers had a walk, batter hit by pitch, two singles and a double. Hunter Meister, Blake Ruggs, Dax Marley and Kolin Marley scored to take the Tigers’ first lead of the game.
The top of the fourth ended when Paul Reed hit the ball to Stillwater’s pitcher Teel who threw to Michael Higgins. The Pioneer catcher picked up an out on a run-down and followed that up with a second run-down at third base.
Stillwater cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Ryan Hoecker crossed the plate on a Norman error.
Stillwater kept its offense going and tied up the game after five innings. Tanner Swick, base runner for Higgins, stole third and made his way home on a Norman error. Hoecker was sent home on a sacrifice hit by Teel to make it a new game after five innings tied 4-4.
The Pioneers prevailed on a timely hit by Littell.
Stillwater and Norman will meet in Norman at 6 p.m. Tuesday to finish the home-and-home.
“We tend to play sometimes to the level of our competition,” Sangirardi said. “You probably got one of the top three teams that you’re going to face. We hit the ball hard and had them on the ropes and we make a blunder in base running and take their pitcher off the hook.”
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.