By Chuck Reherman
A fighting chance.
Yukon gave themselves one Tuesday night after snapping a seven-game overall and three district contest skid.
Nollan Koon’s two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Jacob Russell from third with the game winning run in a much needed District 6A-1 win over Edmond Memorial at Miller Field.
Yukon, 9-9, had dropped six games in a row, including three district games and a fourth in a row would have just about taken the Millers out of contention for one of the two host spots for the regional tournament. YHS is 4-4 in district play and is currently in fourth place, one-half game behind Norman North for third. Edmond North leads the district at 7-0 and Mustang (who swept the Millers last week) is 6-1. Edmond Memorial is a half game behind the Millers at 3-4.
The Millers have a key district series coming up with Edmond North on Monday and Tuesday. YHS hosts the Huskies on Monday at 4:30 p.m. and travels to North Tuesday, also at 4:30 p.m. Yukon also had Putnam City North (1-5 in district) and Putnam City West (1-6) on the district schedule.
Koon’s game winning hit came after Chance Shelton kept the inning alive with a two-out single. Denver Patterson drew a walk, moving the winning run to second base. YHS head coach inserted Russell to run for Shelton and Matt Wilson in to run for Patterson.
Koon drove a first pitch fastball from Zach Escoveda into centerfield. On the throw to the plate, Russell slide home just getting his foot on home plate before catcher Ben Crawford could make the tag.
“We needed that win in a bad way,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “It was a good win, we had three pitchers come in and do what we needed to do. We got some big hits out of some guys late. We used the whole bench, I don’t know if we had anybody else to use.
“It was a good win for us and a win we needed,” he said. “We needed to get off the Scheid right there. We had lost six in a row and we haven’t done that in a long time. We saw a little excitement right there, we battled and it was a good win for us.”
The weather did play a factor in the game. A steady 20 mph wind with gusts up between 35-40 mph hampered play somewhat along with the temperatures in the high 30s.
“It was a tough situation being our here playing in the wind with the way it is,” he said. “But, we battled through the elements and got a win.
“The win gives us a fighting chance,” he added. “Edmond Memorial went in two years ago as a four seed, hot at the right time and won a state championship. All we have to to do it pull our head out and we have a shot. We have to think every time a ground ball is hit, I am going to go catch that thing. We are telling them what to do, its they have to listen to us and believe in what we are doing.”
Memorial had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning. The Millers had a chance to get out of the inning and strand two runners after Memorial had a fly out to right field for a second out.
A walk to Cole Emmons loaded the bases and a second walk to Coit Morton brought home a run and a 2-1 game. Escovedo’s single to right centerfield drove in two runs and a 3-1 Bulldog lead.
Dalton DeBaud reached on an error on a hard ground ball that scored the tying run for the Millers in the bottom half of the inning. Payton Miller had doubled with one out before Debaud’s ground ball was booted by Memorial third baseman Trace Evans that allowed the tying run to score.
The Millers had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly from Dakota Ward and extended their lead to 2-0 an inning later on an RBI single from Shelton. He drove in Mason McIntyre who had been hit by a pitch and moved to third on a single by Drew Janvrin.
Memorial 3 Yukon 2
Evans’ walk-off single to right field in the bottom of the seventh handed the Millers a third straight district loss, 3-2 on Monday.
Evans’ base hit drove in Morton, who had reached on an error. An error on a bunt by Escevedo and a one-out intentional walk to Chris Weber loaded the bases. Evans singled to right on an 0-1 pitch.
The Millers had taken a 1-0 first inning lead when Koon scored on a two-out passed ball. Koon had singled and advanced to third on a single by Miller.
Koon’s second single of the game drove in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. B.J. Lee had singled and moved second before Koon’s two-out single gave the Millers the lead again.
Memorial, though, tied the game in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI single from Emmons.
Ward went the distance on the mound for the Millers allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six.
“It should have been a 2-0 game, we had several ground ball outs we didn’t convert on,” James said. “We have to come back now and take care of business. We need to come to work with a good attitude, get ready to go and have a chance to get better every day out.”
The Millers to play at Westmoore at noon today