NORMAN — Norman North had its chances. Time and again the T-Wolves seized the momentum in the regional final against Choctaw, and it looked like North was poised to make its return to the state tournament after a runner-up finish a year ago.
But time and again, the Timberwolves made mistakes that allowed Choctaw opportunities to steal the moment. And the Yellow Jackets took full advantage. And because of that, it’s Choctaw that will be heading to the state tournament, and the Timberwolves whose season ended after a pair of loses in the regional final.
Choctaw defeated North 8-7 in the first game of the day thanks to seven unearned runs that came as a result of three North errors in the game. That momentum carried over to the second game as Garrin Young went the distance and held North to just four hits in a 4-1 victory that crowned the Yellow Jackets as champions of the regional.
“Choctaw came out and played with house money; they had no pressure and nothing to lose,” North coach Brian Aylor said. “We knew with the depth of our pitching staff we needed things to play out a certain way, and it didn’t work out today. That’s the nature of this game; if you have one bad day it can all end.”
Needing to win just one of two games after a pair of victories on Wednesday, North played from behind for the majority of the day. The T-Wolves, who finish the season 25-13, trailed Choctaw 3-2 early in the first game and fell behind as much as 5-2 but looked like they would take control after tying it at five on a Ryan McDaniel double.
But Choctaw had the response, again taking advantage of a North throwing error. The Yellow Jackets took the lead on a botched throw to first and added two more when Brandon Grant singled in two more. North would close the gap to one run in the bottom of the sixth, but Choctaw worked a perfect seventh to close the game and force the decider.