SHAWNEE – The Silo Rebels are back on top, riding the strength of their “big game” Hunters to drop Dale 3-2 on Saturday and capture the 2A state baseball championship.
Hunter Stephens collected nine strikeouts (13 if you count his at-bats) in a complete-game on the mound to match Dale’s Evan Anderson. Both issued five walks as well.
And Silo’s Hunter Jackson had the only base hit of the game for the Rebels, a fourth-inning blooper which scored Leonard Sandler to tie the game at 1-1 at the time.
In fact, the Pirates out-hit Silo 9-1, which serves to punctuate the 3-2 Rebel victory.
The difference came in the sixth inning, when some head’s-up batting led to the game-winning run for Silo – without any actual base hits.
Andrew Bolin reached on a Pirate fielding error (the only one of the game for either club) and stole second. Leonard Sandler laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Bolin to third with just one out.
Kyle Tate laid down another textbook bunt and Anderson threw home but Bolin slid under the tag for the go-ahead run. “If he’s not the quickest guy out there, we couldn’t have done that,” said Silo baseball Coach Billy Jack Bowen.
Dale stranded 13 runners, including a tying run in scoring position in the final inning.
“We faced a big-time pitcher (who’s) going to Ole Miss and we battled all game,” Bowen said. “We hung around and scratched out runs. We knew we couldn’t stand up there and bat with them toe-to-toe. So we got guys on and moved them around.”
“You can’t say enough about Hunter (Stephens). He battled pitch-for-pitch, and he’s done that all spring for us. What a great job,” Bowen said. “This was a total team effort, there are no superstars. Just a great group of guys.”
The game remained scoreless into the third when the Pirates strung together three base hits to score Chase Byndas. Jackson’s bloop single in the fourth tied the game as Sandler came home. (He reached base on a four-pitch walk.)
Dale answered with a single and double to go ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, but stranded two runners. Tanner Hearon drew a base-on-balls to start the Silo fifth, and he reached second on a passed ball.
Justin Hendricks moved Hearon to third on a sac bunt, then he scored on a wild pitch to tie the game once again (2-2).
The Pirates had two in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth when the Rebels came up with an amazing catch in shallow center to nab a likely two-run hit and end the threat.
Bolin scored in the sixth, then Stephens fanned one, hit another, walked another, and endured a foul fly ball which advanced the lead runner to third before Dale’s first baseman struck out looking to strand two more.
The Pirates threatened to rally again in the seventh: Jace Wilkins drew a lead-off walk, a sac bunt got him to second, then a chopper to third allowed Sandler to get the long out while keeping the runner at second.
Stephens struck out Dale’s final batter to preserve the win, collapsing in front of the mound with joy before his teammates piled on top to celebrate “State.”
To reach the championship, Silo crushed Caney Valley 13-1 in a five-inning semifinal run-rule on Friday. Starter Jarris Hamilton and reliever Trenton Long allowed only three Trojan hits.
Silo posted six runs in the second inning and five in the third. Bolin scored three runs, Sandler had a triple and three RBIs, Jackson had two RBIs, pinch runner Kris Taylor had a stolen base and scored once, and it was an RBI apiece for Tate, Long, Stephens and House.