Owasso’s constant pressure finally paid dividends for the Rams in a big way.
The Rams pushed across the tie-breaking run on a throwing error before adding an insurance run as part of a two-run eighth.
Jackson Farrell pitched a six-hitter as defending state champion Owasso defeated Edmond Deer Creek 3-1 on Thursday afternoon in the Class 6A state baseball championship quarterfinals at Union Redhawk Field.
With the 11th win in their last 13 games, the Rams (27-13) will meet Bixby (30-8) in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Bixby defeated Edmond North 6-1.
The other semifinal, slated for 11 a.m. Friday, will pit Enid (28-9) against Yukon (26-12) following wins by both those teams Thursday.
Enid rolled past Westmoore 10-0 in a six-inning, run-rule contest while Yukon came from behind to knock off Stillwater 3-1.
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After having three runners thrown out on the base paths earlier, including one each in the previous two innings on a pair of double plays turned by the Antlers (25-15), Owasso finally was able to convert in the first extra inning of action.
Farrell drew a leadoff walk off of Antlers reliever Luke Schimmels and moved to second base on a balk by the right-hander. Cooper Auschwitz then laid down a bunt to the left side but Deer Creek third baseman Jake Ludlum’s throw was wide at first base and Alex Nirider, the courtesy runner for Farrell, raced home with the tie-breaking run with Auschwitz advancing to second base.
Two batters later, Branden Floyd’s single to left field scored Auschwitz to give Owasso a two-run advantage.
“Kind of a repeat of last week against Union (a 1-0 victory in regional play) when we went 11 innings,” Rams head coach Larry Turner said.
“We just kept trying to create something and make something happen. Maybe we ran ourselves out of a couple of innings. We tried to put pressure on them and they executed.
“We got a bunt down,” Turner added about Auschwitz’s key play in the eighth. “That was the turning point for us.”
To get to extra innings, though, Owasso had to rely on a big defensive play by centerfielder Luke Williams.
With the game deadlocked at 1-1 and Schimmels on second base after reaching on an infield single, Deer Creek’s Kellen Frizzell singled up the middle. Williams fielded the base hit cleanly and then threw a strike to catcher Baylor Corbin who tagged Schimmels out at home to keep the game tied.
“Luke Williams makes probably the play of the game (by) throwing the guy out at the plate,” Turner said. “It had to be just perfect or he’s safe or we wouldn’t have got to the eighth inning.”
Williams, the Rams’ cleanup hitter who had a pair of doubles and tallied his team’s first run, described his defensive gem.
“In the corner of my eye, I saw their coach waving him (Schimmels) in,” he said. “So, I was like, ‘I gotta let this one go.’ Luckily, it was right on the money.”
Williams’ second two-bagger of the game came with two out in the fourth. After Floyd worked Antlers starter Brady Hamilton for a walk, Grady Mercer followed with a base hit to left field to drive in Williams.
In a rematch of the teams’ state semifinal contest last year won 6-2 by Owasso in which Farrell also fashioned a complete-game performance with a three-hitter, the lefthander once again excelled against Deer Creek.
He allowed six hits, all singles, while striking out seven and not issuing a walk. The run he permitted was unearned.
“Jackson with 95 pitches in eight innings; he was outstanding,” Turner said of the junior hurler. “Both pitchers were really good. This was a fun one. He (Farrell) is great.”
Williams echoed his coach’s thoughts about his team’s standout pitcher.
“We knew Jackson would get it done,” he said. “He’s been a dude all year. We just knew if we could scratch (out) a couple of runs, and play defense behind him, we would get the win. So, that’s what we did.”
Like Williams, Mercer finished with two hits in Owasso’s eight-hit attack.
Frizzell collected three of Deer Creek’s six hits while Schimmels contributed two.
Bixby 6, Edmond North 1: The Spartans (30-8) erupted for five runs via three extra-base hits in the third inning while Max Knight fanned 12 in a route-going outing as Bixby extended its winning streak to 12 games.
Jake Wolfinbarger’s double ignited the Spartans’ decisive third inning before Cooper Moore drove home two runs with a two-bagger and Nick Murphy’s bases-loaded hit — Bixby’s third double of the inning — knocked in three runs to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 advantage.
“Cooper is a great ball player; he’s had a huge year for us,” Bixby head coach Justin Delay said of the Spartans’ third baseman. “The guy (Edmond North starting pitcher Owen Hall) hung him a slider and he (Moore) made him pay.
“Murph was obviously on time with the fast fall and then late in the game O.B. did the same thing,” Delay added. “We prepared all week for the hard fastball so we were excited whenever he (Hall) got into the zone and we were able to do something with it.”
Owen Bailor added a solo home run to right field off Hall, who surrendered all six Bixby runs while amassing 11 strikeouts in 4.1 innings, for the Spartans’ final run.
Nick Garcia gave the Huskies (25-10), who had won 12 of their last 13 contests and are one of four District 6A-1 teams in the state tournament, an early lead with a one-out homer to left field in the first inning off Knight.
The Spartans’ lefthander permitted just three hits with one walk. He struck out the side in both the second and fourth innings.
Yukon 3, Stillwater 1: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, winning pitcher Logan Troxell struck out the final two hitters for Stillwater (29-11) that he faced to preserve his team’s victory and earn the win in relief.
Enid 10, Westmoore 0 (6 innings): Jake Kennedy tossed a no-hitter and a four-run sixth inning for the Plainsmen put the finishing touches on a 10-0 run rule win in six innings. The Jaguars (25-15) failed to advance to the semifinals for a second straight year.
OWASSO 3, EDMOND DEER CREEK 1 (8 innings)
Owasso 000 100 02 — 3 8 1
Deer Creek 001 000 00 — 1 6 1
Farrell and Corbin. Hamilton, Phillips (6), Schimmels (6) and Adamson. W: Farrell. L: Schimmels. T: 2:23.
BIXBY 6, EDMOND NORTH 1
Edmond North 100 000 0 — 1 3 0
Bixby 005 010 x — 6 5 0
Hall, Bender (5) and Knox. Knight and Murphy. W: Knight. L: Hall. T: 1:43.
ENID 10, WESTMOORE 0 (6 innings)
Westmoore 000 000 — 0 0 3
Enid 310 204 — 10 4 0
Lindquist, Bourland (5) and Fallwell. Kennedy and Hartling. W: Kennedy. L: Lindquist.
YUKON 3, STILLWATER 1
Yukon 000 001 2 — 3 3 1
Stillwater 000 100 0 — 1 3 0
Owens, Troxell (5) and Strange. Morgan and Jeffery. W: Troxell. L: Morgan.