By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It was a wild conclusion to the first day of the Brad Holt Memorial Tournament Thursday at Couch Park.
With 13 runs scored in the first two innings between Stillwater High and Sand Springs, the game came to a halt when extreme winds — that kicked up dirt, debris and field tarps — hit ahead of a line of severe weather.
“We knew there was a big storm coming in and we were just trying to get as much as we could in,” Stillwater High coach Tony Holt said. “It’ll just be one of those things that since it’s based on best record on who plays in the final, we’ll just move on. There will be no win or loss for anybody since we were just in the third inning. It’s got to be five innings to be an official game.”
Stillwater jumped out to the early lead with a six-run first inning, but the delay seemed to effect SHS starting pitcher Will Fowler.
The Pioneers batted through the order with five of the runs being plated with two outs in the inning. The inning got going on a leadoff walk by Carson Teel, who then scored on a fielder’s choice when he tried to advance all the way to third which led to a throwing error to allow him to cross the plate.
SHS got its first big hit of the rally with a two-out, two-run double by Sam Kraybill to plate Gage Hines, who had reached on a walk, and Harrison Cornforth, who had singled. After a walk to Fowler, who was run for by Joel Queen, Mason Stuart plated Kraybill with a single. A.J. Ruark then plated Queen on a single. Stuart would score the final run of the inning with a bases loaded wild pitch by the Sandites starting pitcher.
Sand Springs, which lost to Putnam City North 2-1 earlier in the day, came roaring back in the top of the second, however, roughing up Fowler for seven runs. Though the Pioneer defense didn’t help out their starter, giving up two errors in the inning, the Sandites did string together five hits, including a two-out grand slam by Hunter Delozier.
“We started off real well, but whenever you are playing a Sand Springs team, they’re not ever going to quit,” Holt said. “I love the way their kids play. ... Sand Springs kids will never shut it down. Even with that 6-0 lead, I had a pretty good idea they could come back. I’ve never seen one of their teams quit and they didn’t.”
Fowler was replaced at the start of the third inning by Riley Williams when the winds began to whip up. The first batter Williams faced hit a high fly ball to right field, and with the winds swirling and blowing from left to right, center field Carson Teel came in at the last second to make the catch.
As the next batter was heading to the plate is when gusts picked up even more and forced the umpires to send the players to their respective dugouts for safety.
Depending on the amount of precipitation poured on the Couch Park field overnight, the second day of action is scheduled to begin at noon with Putnam City North facing Enid. Stillwater will look to get its first game of the tournament in at 7:30 p.m. against Piedmont.
“Our field can take some water, it’s very dry and our sprinkler system hasn’t been on,” Holt said. “Since we’ve done some remodeling on the infield last fall, all spring long it has proved to dry really quick. So even if we get a lot of rain on it — which we need on it, to be honest, because it’s so dry — we should be good. I’d be shocked if we can’t start at noon.”