By Chuck Reherman
That is all that Yukon needs to make a return trip to the class 6A state Baseball Tournament.
The Millers have that chance tonight in the Region II championship game against the winner of Norman North and Choctaw at 7 p.m. at Miller Field.
YHS, 30-7-1, reached the championship game after beating Choctaw 8-1 in the winners bracket finals Wednesday. A win Thursday night sends the Millers to the state tournament for the first time since 2017. A loss will have the two teams play again at 6:30 p.m. Friday for a state at a state berth.
Choctaw beat Norman North 12-2 in their meeting on Wednesday and the Timberwolves eliminated Northwest Classen 29-0 in the losers’ bracket game. North and Choctaw play at 5 p.m.
It was the third win over the Yellowjackets in the past week, the first two were run rules, but the Millers had a tougher time this third meeting. The Millers, who beat the Knights 17-0 in the first game of the day, had a scare against Choctaw, leading 2-1 before scoring four runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
“It got a little tight there, but we got some hits there late with two out and drove in runs,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “We got a good bunt down and came up with some two-out hits that gave us a lead. We do have to do a better job of not chasing pitches.
“Carson threw really well, he ha a bunch of strikeouts (16),” he said. “We made a nice play defensively and couldn’t get to our feet and still had a chance. We had a chance to get out of it and not give them a run.
“This is a huge win for us. We are in the driver’s seat and can sit back and watch two games. Norman North has to win two games to get to us (the beat Northwest Classen in one of those) and Choctaw has to win one to get to us. The driver’s seat is a good thing right now.”
Choctaw use the only Miller error of the game to score a run and make it a 2-1 contest in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A double by Parker Means and RBI singles from Aiden Alexander and Carson Benge drove in runs and opened a 6-1 lead. Means’ two-run scoring double came with two out after Trevin Pettigrew walked and Nick Scavitto reached on an error.
Alexander followed Means’ hit with an RBI single and Benge, after a walk to Logan Troxell, singled to drive in the fourth run of the inning.
Carson Lee’s two-run home run in the top of the seventh basically put the game out of reach. Pettigrew had doubled and Lee’s home run came on a 1-0 pitch with two out.
Yukon broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning when courtesy runner Carson Creach scored on a passed ball. Tyler Collins followed with a one-out single that drove in the second run.
“The four-run sixth inning was huge, especially after we gave up a run in the fifth,” James said. “Two out hits were big and we kept stringing the hits together and Carson (Lee) hit the crap out of the ball in the seventh inning on that home run.
“We know Choctaw is a good team, they can play,” he said. “They have good looking kids, have pitching and you can’t take anyone lightly in this thing,” he said. “Either one of those teams we have to play in the finals are good teams and we have to go out and take care of our business.”
In the opening game of the day, the Millers broke the game open with six runs in the second inning and scored seven more in the fourth to roll to a 17-0 win over the Knights.
Isaac Pearson and Alexander teamed up to hold the Knights to one hit in five innings. Pearson had six strikeouts in three innings and Alexander four in two.
“We hit the ball in the game and took care of business,” James said. “We got a win and we did what we had to do. We did recognize what we were seeing from their pitching and the second time through the order to put the game away.”
The Millers, leading 2-0 in the second inning, took control of the game on a three-run double by Benge. Means had walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0 and two outs later, Benge doubled to the left centerfield wall, just missing a home run, to make it 5-0.
From there, the Millers scored at will.
Pettigrew’s two-RBI double opened a 7-0 lead. YHS made it 9-0 on a sac fly from Alexander and a passed ball and Benge doubled home a run to open a 10-0 lead.
The Millers scored seven more times in the fourth inning to put the game well out of reach. Scavitto doubled home the first run if the inning, Lee doubled home two more and RBi singles by Heath Brown and Wyatt Pace led to four more runs. Yukon had 10 different players with a hit in the game.