By Chuck Reherman
With the district race tight and winding down, victories are at a premium.
The Millers picked up a key win for them Tuesday.
Yukon pulled off an 8-7 win over Putnam City North to earn a split of their District 6A-1 series and moved the Millers back into fifth place.
The Millers, 11-14 overall had fallen to sixth the day before after losing 3-2 to the Panthers. YHS is now 5-7 in the district with two games remaining, Putnam City West on Monday and Tuesday. North slipped to sixth with a 3-8 record.
The Millers can move into fourth place with a sweep of West. YHS plays at West Monday and hosts the Patriots Tuesday. Both games are at 4:30 p.m.
Memorial, 5-6 in district, plays Midwest City, 3-9, but also has a game with Edmond North. If both teams tie at 7-7, the Millers would be the fourth place team and would play at Edmond North or Mustang (those two play Monday and Tuesday) in the regionals. A fifth place finish would send them to Westmoore, who has locked up the 6A-2 title.
Dalton DeBaud’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning rallied the Millers to a 7-6 deficit to the 8-7 win and kept the team’s hopes for a fourth place finish alive.
“This was a hard-fought win,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “We battled. Payton (Miller) didn’t have his best stuff, competed and gave us five good innings. B.J. (Lee) came in and gave us two good innings and shut the door on them. He worked out of a heck of a jam with the bases loaded.
“We swung the bat well, that’s two days in a row we have swung the bat,” he said. “We got a couple of timely hits with people in scoring position.”
Two of those key hits came for the Millers in the bottom of the sixth inning. Payton Miller’s RBI double (after a single from Nollan Koon) drove in the tying run.
DeBaud, an a 2-2 pitch with two out, he singled into left field, scoring pinch runner Caleb Hernandez from third with the go-ahead run.
Lee retired the North side in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
The game did go back and forth. North had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but saw the Millers counter with four runs in the bottom of the frame. North scored four in the fourth to regain the lead, 6-4.
North’s Zack McKee doubled in two runs to give the Panthers the initial lead in the top of the first.
Drew Janvrin’s two-run scoring double in the bottom of the frame sparked the Millers to a 4-2 lead. Koon had singled and scored on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Jack Pritchard sent home the tying run.
Janvrin drilled a 1-0 pitch over the centerfielder’s head to give the Millers a 4-2 lead.
North regained the lead on Daniel Martinez’ two-run scoring single in the top of the fourth, 6-4.
The Millers tied the game again in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Miller. YHS scored their other run on a North error after Koon doubled and Dakota Ward singled. Koon scored on a throwing error by the rightfielder.
North regained the lead on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, 7-6.
“It feels good to win a district win, it has been a few weeks since that has happened,” James said. “I’m proud of what we did, it was a tough situation and I thought we competed at the plate and on the mound.
“We did some good things and it was a good win,” he added. “We had some guys starting to swing that bat like we haven’t seen in a while and scooped some balls up in a timely situation.”
PC North 3 Yukon 2
The Millers came up on the short end on Monday, as North held off a late rally to take a 3-2 win.
Trailing 3-2, the Millers had a chance to take the lead, loading the bases with one out in the sixth inning. Koon’s sacrifice fly scored Janvrin, who had reached on an error.
A fly ball ended the inning.
Pritchard’s RBI double in the first inning gave the Millers a 1-0 lead.
By Chuck Reherman