The Deer Creek Antlers bludgeoned Putnam City North in their regional opener, with Ava Farris, Terin Ritz and Caitlyn Wells each hitting home runs in a short-ended, run-rule win to open their regional tournament bracket at noon Wednesday.
Wells got things started in the bottom of the first. After Terin Ritz led-off Deer Creek’s lineup with a single, Wells rocketed her first seen pitch out of deep center field. It put PC North down 2-nil just two pitches into the game.
Farris tallied her haymaker an inning later. Batting with two outs in the frame, she left through center field to score Wells and Gracie Nettles. Wells had reached on an intentional walk — a batter after Ritz picked up her first RBI of the day on a ground ball to the hot corner. Nettles then scored Ritz on PC North’s second third-baseman error of the frame.
The barrage had it 8-nil Antlers after just two innings.
Macy Stockton scored an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth. Her hit to shortstop bought Nettles enough time to score. Nettles led off the inning by reaching first before she was booted to third on a double from Farris.
That meant Deer Creek was hunting a run rule, and, in the bottom of the fifth, Ritz gave her girls the early-ended game on a “walk-off” home run. After Whitney Kimberlin led off the inning with a single, Ritz took a 0-1 count out of play through center field. It was Ritz’s 17th bomb of the year.
Ritz also saw burn from the pitcher’s circle Wednesday. Pitching all five, she struck out ten, gave up only one hit and a walk. Seventy-three percent of her 71 pitches were strikes in the win.
Ritz’s three hits on four appearances led the game from the batter’s box. She had two RBIs and three runs scored, and Wells — batting in the two-hole behind her — had two RBIs and a walk, too. Hailey Evans (1-for-3) Rylee Johnston (1-for-1) and Whitney Kimberlin (2-for-3, two runs scored) all hit in the win, too, and Ava Farris led the team with three RBIs on her 2-for-3 opening game.
Deer Creek now awaits the winner of Putnam City and Yukon for a regional semifinal pairing at 6p.m. today in Deer Creek.