In the contest where the last two pitches was a perfect microcosm of the exhilarating and also exhausting swings of emotions felt throughout, Pitkin rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Weston 5-4 in the LHSAA Division V semi-final thriller.
The heartbreaking loss in the tightly contested game played at McMurry Park in Sulphur ends the resilient Wolves season with a 17-15 overall record. Pitkin improved to 19-6 and advanced to play Anacoco, who beat top ranked Choudrant in 9 innings, for the state championship on Friday.
Final frame fireworks! In the contest that had more swings than a schoolyard playground, both teams experienced the high of taking a lead and the despair of losing one in the final frame by rallying to score two runs each.
Pressure packed performance! Weston entered the seventh inning with their backs against the wall. Single runs by Pitkin in the second, third and fifth innings had left the Wolves trailing 3-2 after six innings of back and forth battle and a lightning delay. Jacob Gill and Sawyer Watkins got the inning started perfectly by coaxing back to back walks leading to Bryce Zehr laying down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Tait Henderson then overcame the intense pressure of putting the ball into play by slapping a grounder to shortstop that scored Gill and moved Sawyer to third.
Pick your poison! That brought up Colton Blundell, who had already made a triumphant return from what was believed to be a season ending injury. The courageous freshman, who refused to sit out despite risking further injury to his knee, had already burned Pitkin by blasting a first inning double to give Weston a 2-0 lead. Pitkin coaches decided to intentionally walk Blundell and face fellow freshman Cole Tolar instead. Bad move! Patiently Tolar worked the count to 3-2 and then put himself into position of being forever remembered in Weston lore by slapping a line single to left to score Watkins and give Weston a 4-3 lead.
Heartbreak! Pitkin opened the bottom of the seventh inning by drawing a lead off walk off. After a wild pitch advance the runner to second the Wolves misplayed a ground ball allowing the Pitkin runner to score and put the batter on second. Pitkin then loaded the bases with one out on a walk and a hit batsman. Once again Weston came up with a huge play under pressure when the runner on third attempted to steal home but was tagged out. It now looked like Weston seemed primed to escape without any further damage but on the very next pitch Pitkin hit a single to center to score the winning run.
Semi-final standouts! Colton Blundell led the Wolves offensively by reaching base in all four at bats, collecting a single, double and being intentionally walked twice and knocking in a run. Cole Tolar also came up big with two hits and two RBI while Sawyer Watkins reached base three times on free passes and scored two runs. Tait Henderson knocked in a run and scored one as did Jacob Gill. Blaine Graham and Bryce Zehr also had a base hit each.
Superb season! The loss did nothing to take away from the superb season turned in by Weston. The Wolves exceeded expectations by winning a share of the district 1B championship and making their first trip to the state tourney since 1986 despite not having a single senior on the roster. With everyone coming back coupled with the experience gained this year, the future looks even more promising.
|#7 Weston (17-15)||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||4||6||2|
|#3 Pitkin (19-6)||0||1||1||0||1||0||2||2||8||2|
2B – Blundell (WHS)
RBI – Tolar 2 (WHS), Henderson (WHS), Blundell (WHS), Wisby (PHS), Longino (PHS), James (PHS), Stephens (PHS)
RS – Watkins 2 (WHS), Henderson (WHS), Gill (WHS), Perkins (PHS), Nolen (PHS), Davis (PHS), Martin (PHS)
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