Mac tops ‘Cats, makes State
PIEDMONT Brad Hoskins did just what seniors are supposed to do Saturday make big plays. He did so with both his arm and his bat to lead MacArthur to an 8-5 victory over Piedmont to clinch another trip to the Class 5A State baseball tournament.
When Piedmont rallied Friday to take a 4-3 victory to force the "if" game in the tournament, it left the Highlanders will pitching issues as both Michelle Artzberger and Zac DeLong had already thrown a lot of pitches on Thursday and Friday.
So Mac coach Rodney DeLong decided to go with sophomore Malik Wilson on the mound. it was a gamble of sorts but needing somebody to save pitches for his other hurlers, it was the coach's best option.
"Malik threw really well against McAlester (in the McAlester East/West Shootout). And he came in against Guymon and pitched pretty well. So I felt good about him because of his last two outings."
Unfortunately for Wilson, the strike zone was tight, resulting in some 50/50 pitch calls being called balls. Through two innings of work, Wilson gave up four hits, but also walked five Wildcats.
"He made a lot of good pitches today but they were missing just a little bit," DeLong said.
Piedmont was able to produce two runs in both the first and second innings, but still the Mac owned the lead thanks to some early offensive success of its own.
That allowed DeLong to send Wilson back out to the mound for the third inning but when he gave up a game-tying solo homer to Bryson Nichols, the call went out to Hoskins.
From there the Wildcats had no answer as Hoskins proceeded to pitch five scoreless innings, allowing just a single hit and not walking a batter.
"Brad went right after them," DeLong said. "He didn't walk anybody and threw it by them. They just struggled with their timing against him. And that's what he does."
At the plate Hoskins helped his own cause with two hits, one of those a leadoff double in the fifth inning. That started a Mac rally, with Racer Felter and Michelle Artzberger each delivering big hits.
Felter had a 3-for-4 effort and drove in a run while Artzberger had a pair of hits and drove in two, one of those on a sacrifice fly.
Zac DeLong and Rylan Webb each drove in a run with Webb putting down a bunt to plate a run.
The Highlanders had nine hits as a team and really focused on not just making contact, but making quality contact.
"We just swung the bats. We hit it really well," DeLong said. "Today, we squared a lot of balls up. I talked to them all about our approach pregame and they followed through."
It was the third time the teams faced each other in a three-day span. And despite Piedmont's 16-23 record, DeLong said the Wildcats were extremely tough to put away, as evidenced by each team claiming a one-run victory on Thursday and Friday and the close game on Saturday.