OKLAHOMA CITY – After posting an eye-popping 65 runs last week on their way to a regional championship, the Silo Rebels put up some much smaller – but equally impressive – numbers at the state tournament on Thursday.
The Rebels used four pitchers and overcame six errors in a 6-5 extra-inning win over Hennessey to advance to Friday’s 2A semifinal at Dolese Park in Oklahoma City. Silo will face a potent Wister team at 6:30 p.m. today, with a trip to Saturday’s state championship game on the line.
“We didn’t deserve to overcome (six errors),” said Silo Coach Billy Jack Bowen after the nine-inning win. “We got ourselves out of some jams. I guess it’s better to play bad and win than play good and lose.”
To be fair, coach, it wasn’t that bad. The Rebels had zero extra-base hits, but got contributions from the entire batting order. And there was the impressive 1-2-3 double play to end the third when the Eagles were threatening to score.
Tanner Hearon had a very rough day at short, responsible for half of the Rebel miscues. But he scattered some remarkable and routine plays on defense, and contributed a single and a stolen base on offense. After the game, he credited his teammates for helping him through the rough spots: “I knew they’d have my back.”
As Silo’s power hitting was kept in check by the Eagles, it ultimately came down to the Rebel defense to return the favor and stifle Hennessey scoring opportunities. Right fielder Casey Love got it started with a diving catch in the first inning.
While the defense held on starter Justin Hendricks’s solid four innings and notable plays from third baseman Leonard Sandler and outfielder Chris Taylor, the offense went 1-for-9 in the first three innings. Lance House had a first inning single, but got caught in a run down.
Sandler got the offense going in the fourth with a single and a stolen base. He reached third on an Eagle error, and Kyle Tate brought Sandler home with an RBI single for the 1-0 lead.
Hennessey would not be denied, tying the game in the fifth on a virtual free pass home. A sharply hit ball skipped off Tate’s glove, allowing the Eagle runner to advance to second. A balk sent him to third, and the score came on a passed ball. One walk later, and Jarris Hamilton was brought in to pitch.
Hamilton struck out two but loaded the bases as well, and Hennessey took a 2-1 lead on a bunt single, stolen base and a passed ball. Silo showed its resourcefulness in the bottom of the fifth, with Hearon and Hendricks bunting Chris Taylor to third after he was hit by a pitch to reach base. Taylor scored on an RBI single from Andrew Bolin which tied the game at two and knocked the Eagle starter out of the game.
Kendall Shives came in to pitch the sixth, but an inherited walk and one of his own put a pair of Eagles on base. He then struck out two before Hearon botched a run-down play which put both Eagles in scoring position. Sweet redemption came one play later when Hearon gobbled up a sharp grounder for the out to Tate at first, stranding the two Hennessey runners.
Silo tapped the Eagles for three runs in their half of the sixth, when Sandler and Shives both drew walks. Love singled Sandler home, then Taylor’s sac bunt scored Shives. A passed ball brought Love to home plate for the 5-2 lead.
Hennessey answered with three runs in the seventh on a single hit accompanied by several Rebel miscues. Silo got two on base in their at-bat on walks, but stranded both to force extra innings in the 5-5 affair.
Kyle Tate became the Rebels’ fourth pitcher in the eighth, walking one, hitting another and getting plays from House, Hamilton and Hearon to end the Hennessey threat. Love and Hearon reached base the hard way as both were struck by pitches. Taylor hit into a fielder’s choice which forced Love out at second. Hendricks and Bolin both fouled out to end the opportunity.
A leadoff double for the Eagles was wasted as Jarris Hamilton (filling in at third) made a trio of head’s-up plays to get outs and keep the run from scoring. He also played hero in the bottom of the ninth with a bases-loaded walk-off single to score Lance House for the 6-5 win.