SHAWNEE – Jake Hamilton has pitched a lot of big games during his baseball career at Silo. The senior saved one of his best for his final outing on Friday afternoon.
Even though he didn’t have his best stuff for most of the day, Hamilton gutted through a complete game four-hit effort as the Rebels returned to the Class 2A state championship game with a 3-1 win over Wister at Ed Skelton Field.
Silo will meet old rival Dale in the 2 p.m. title tilt today. The Pirates upset top-ranked Oktaha, 4-3, in Friday’s other semifinal.
“It never gets old,” Hamilton commented about another trip to the state finals.
For the second straight game the second-ranked Rebels struggled to string much together offensively but came up with enough key hits to propel them to the win.
That and another pitching effort in which they got a gutsy seven inning performance.
“We survived and advanced,” head coach Billy Jack Bowen commented for the second day in a row. “We knew that Jake would give us a chance even though we have so many young faces. He’s been up here enough and gutted it out today. He did what good pitchers do. He found a way to get it done, even without his best stuff.”
Much like they did in Thursday’s opening round, the Rebels got off to another solid start by plating a run in the first off Wister southpaw Bryar Ward.
Joyal Savage coaxed a one-out walk and raced all the way around to score on a smashing double from Kash Walls.
That however proved to be the Rebels’ lone hit for the first five stanza as Ward continually kept them guessing at the plate. Silo’s only base runner during that span was a second inning walk to Trevor Dailey.
Hamilton however matched Ward nearly pitch-for-pitch, yielding just two singles during a rapidly played contest.
With the top of the order up in the sixth inning, Silo finally found an offensive answer.
Korben Ford ended a run of 12 straight Rebels retired by smoking a single to left to start the frame and quickly stole second.
Savage then beat out an infield single and Hunter Ratcliffe picked up a RBI with a single deep in the hole at short. Walls followed suit with a run-scoring single to left that made it 3-0 but the Wister hurler worked out of further trouble with a ground ball and two strikeouts.
“Going into the sixth we felt like someone was going to have a big inning,” Bowen stated. “Fortunately that was us.”
Carrying that three-run cushion to the bottom of the seventh, Hamilton allowed a leadoff single to Grant Shipman before fanning Jacob Speers. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases as the Silo righthander began to show a little fatigue.
He answered the bell however despite a Cash Balentine sacrifice fly that broke up the shutout as Koby Midgley flied out to left to end the game on Hamilton’s 122nd pitch of the contest.
Walls ended with two of Silo’s five hits in the contest with Ford, Savage and Ratcliffe all posting one each.
“Wister has a great ball club so it was no surprise that it was a battle all the way,” the Silo head coach added. “It played out well for us and it’s great that we were able to get back to the finals with this young group.
“We’ve got three good arms left that haven’t thrown yet so we are looking forward to Saturday.”
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or [email protected]