Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Alec Johnson delivered a clutch single to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring in Jared Jones with the eventual winning run as the Edmond Bulldogs varsity team opened the postseason tournament with a 3-2 decision over host McGuinness on July 9.
Two days later, Evan Nicklas delivered a bases-loaded walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 victory over Edmond North and the North Division tourney title to set up a championship match with southern division winner Southmoore.
After Johnson’s blow broke the 2-2 tie, Cody Ebert completed a masterful, complete-game performance, blanking the Irish over the last three innings, yielding only a harmless single in the sixth.
With one out in the fourth and the score tied, Jones drew his second straight walk and promptly took second on a passed ball. With two out and a full count, Johnson banged a hard liner over the second baseman’s head and Jones easily crossed the plate.
Then the Bulldogs’ outstanding battery of Ebert and D-I prospect Colin Simpson behind the plate took over. It was three-up, three-down in the fifth, a two-out single in the sixth and then a strikeout and a couple of infield grounders in the seventh as Ebert mowed down the Irish.
Simpson was the hitting star of the game in addition to his sparkling play behind the plate. He led off the game with a double in the first inning but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Then in the third, Mac Michailek bounced a single through the infield and barely had time to gather his breath at first base when Simpson drove the first pitch he saw high over the right-field fence for a two-run homer. Simpson made it 3-for-3 on the evening when he opened the fifth with a single but his courtesy runner was thrown out trying to steal second.
Hunter Jackson reached base all three times with a pair of walks and a fielder’s choiice while Wade Hanska also had a pair of walks. Reese Garvie had a single in the sixth but was stranded.
Against North, the Bulldogs trailed, 4-2, headed for their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh. With two out and a 3-2 count, Nicklas came to the plate with the bases loaded and unloaded a drive to left that cleared the bases and ignited a victory celebration.