Thursday’s rain provided Owasso and Union some rest after their marathon winners’ bracket game in a Class 6A baseball regional Wednesday.
Luke Williams’ walk-off hit in the 11th inning gave defending state champion Owasso a 1-0 victory over the Redhawks at Union’s baseball complex.
The Rams (25-13), a 7-2 winner over Bartlesville in their regional opener earlier Wednesday, will play in the regional final, pushed back 24 hours due to rain, at 6:30 p.m. Friday. If Owasso loses, a second title game will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Union (32-7) will play Bartlesville (22-14) at 4 p.m. Friday in an elimination game. The Redhawks beat U.S. Grant 17-0 in their opening game of the regional Wednesday. Bartlesville defeated Grant 14-0 in an elimination game late Wednesday.
Williams had been 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on the day, but got some advice from head coach Larry Turner prior to his at bat in the 11th inning.
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“Coach Turner said to just stay within myself and not try to do too much and that any soft base hit would work,” said Williams.
Williams had a 1-1 count with Cooper Auschwitz on second base and Bodie Amberson on first after consecutive one-out singles.
Williams lined the ball the opposite way into left field. Gage Arthur made a strong throw, but Auschwitz just slid in safely under the tag of Brody Briggs to set off jubilation from the Owasso team and their fans.
“I think that’s the fastest I’ve run in my life,” said Auschwitz. “All the adrenaline kicked in there.”
Auschwitz also picked up the pitching win. He allowed two hits, walked two, and had one huge strikeout in 2 1/3 innings.
“I was a little nervous coming in that big of a game,” said Auschwitz. “I just tried to lock in and focus up to get those outs at the end.”
Owasso starter Jackson Farrell allowed six hits, walked three and fanned six before having to come out after reaching his max pitch count in 8 2/3 innings.
Union starting pitcher Tatum Hayworth was also outstanding. He surrendered just one bunt hit, walked four, and struck out seven in eight innings.
“We got out of some jams and they got out of some jams,” said Turner. “We had some tough at bats, but got the big hit when we needed it. This was a big win because obviously it was going to be a devastating loss for somebody.”
Farrell left the game because of his pitch count after a single up the middle from Rhett Rogers on an 0-2 count with two outs in the ninth inning. Auschwitz promptly came in and registered a strikeout on three pitches.
Camden Knutson took over for Hayworth and retired the first seven batters he faced, including the first five on strikeouts.
Auschwitz got things started in the 11th when he reached on an infield hit. Amberson followed with a sharp single up the middle on the first pitch. That set the stage for Williams’ game-winning hit.
“They had been throwing me outside pitches all day,” said Williams. “I was just thinking let me take it that way and see what I could do. It ended up falling and we scored the run.”
Owasso 7, Bartlesville 2: James Suiter scattered six hits, allowed two earned runs, walked two, and struck out four in a complete game victory over the Bruins.
Owasso broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the sixth inning. Two of them scored on an error and the other one courtesy of an Amberson sacrifice fly to center field.
Carter Miller and Carter Martinez then added a pair of RBI hits in the seventh. The Rams got their other two runs in the first inning on Branden Floyd’s bases-loaded walk and Grady Mercer’s RBI single, respectively.
OWASSO 1, UNION 0 (11 innings)
Union 000 000 000 00 — 0 8 1
Owasso 000 000 000 01 — 1 4 0
Hayworth, Knutson (9) and Briggs. Farrell, Auschwitz (9) and Corbin. W: Auschwitz. L: Knutson.
OWASSO 7, BARTLESVILLE 2
Owasso 200 003 2 — 7 8 0
Bartlesville 020 000 0 — 2 6 2
Suiter and Corbin. Johnson, Henry (6), Fox (7) and Eric Olenberger. W: Suiter. L: Johnson.