SHAWNEE – Around Silo, they are calling the 2012 baseball team the “pups” because there are so many underclassmen on the squad. Now they can call them the 2A State Runner-Up, the second best team in Oklahoma baseball this year.
The Rebel run through the spring playoffs came to a sudden stop on Saturday at Ed Skelton Field in Shawnee, as Silo ran up against a two-hit shutout by Evan Anderson and the Dale Pirates. An 11-0 decision gave Dale their 18th state baseball crown.
“It’s one of the best stories we’ve had, to get into the finals with these young guys,” said Silo Coach Billy Jack Bowen. “We’ve got a great group of young kids. Without any big arms, I didn’t know if we could win a game. But the pitching has gotten better every day.”
The Rebels’ 20-man squad has one senior, four juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshmen. Lone senior Guthrie Clower pitched in relief in the state championship game on Saturday and picked up a win in Friday’s semifinal.
Silo held Dale to a pair of early runs before the Pirates scored four in the fifth inning to go ahead 6-0. A five-run sixth put the run-rule in effect, and Silo could not rally. Kyle Tate and Leonard Sandler picked up the only singles for the Rebels in the final game.
The Rebels reached the state final by virtue of a 6-5 win over Hennessey on Thursday and a 7-5 win over defending champion Wister on Friday, both at Palmer Field in Oklahoma City’s Dolese Park. On Friday, Clower pitched into the fifth inning, relieved by Kendall Shives.
A six-run fourth inning propelled Silo over the Wildcats. Sandler hit a first-pitch single, followed by a base hit from Tate. Jarris Hamilton bunted onto base as Sandler was thrown out at third on the fielder’s choice.
Chris Taylor drew a walk to load the bases full of Rebels. Tanner Hearon got the first RBI on a single off Cody Luman’s glove to score Tate, tying the game at 1-1. After Hamilton scored on a passed ball, Justin Hendricks smacked a two-RBI single to score Taylor and Hearon for the 4-1 lead.
Hendricks stole second, then Andrew Bolin walked to set up lance House. He drove one to deep right which was dropped by the Wister fielder to finish up the Silo scoring as Hendricks and Bolin came home. This gave House the game-winning RBI in the state semifinal game.
House also had five put-outs in the game in right field, including a running catch in the third that likely saved a run. In that inning, a bizarre catcher’s interference call on Andrew Bolin brought a Wister run home.
In the fifth inning, Silo committed three errors which led to two Wister runs. The defense settled down and stranded the bases full to save a 6-3 lead. Just as the Rebels have done all season, they manufactured an insurance run in the sixth.
Tanner Hearon was hit by a pitch, and Cooper Stephens moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. A pop fly by Hendricks was dropped, putting Silo runners on the corners. Bolin got the RBI on a fielder’s choice, scoring Hearon for the 7-3 lead.
The Wildcats scored two runs on three hits in the sixth, but Shives struck out two in the inning and saved a 7-5 lead. The Rebels went down in order in the seventh, and a lead-off single for Wister was wasted as Bolin made a play to Tate at first on a sacrifice attempt and Shives struck out a Wildcat for two outs.
Colby Turnipseed came to the plate as Wister’s last hope, but he grounded to Sandler for the long throw to Tate and the win which put Silo into Saturday’s state final.
Silo committed 14 errors over three games in the state championship tournament, but they were able to settle down and get the plays they needed. The state final on Saturday had the lowest error total with three, but the Rebels could not overcome the pitching of junior Evan Anderson.
They may face tough competition in 2012-13, but the Rebels have shown that the next two years could produce a lot of trophy case hardware for Silo.