By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – The opening round game between Yukon and Owasso in the class 6A State Baseball Championships was expected to be a pitcher’s dual.
And, it did not disappoint.
It just didn’t come out the way that the Millers wanted it to.
Owasso scored the game’s only run in the second inning and the Rams Brennan Phillips shut down the Miller attack to only one hit and allowed only three baserunners in the game.
Both pitchers combined to allow only four hits in the game and 27 strikeouts. Phillips fanned 14 and Carson Benge had 13 strikeouts.
“It was two great pitchers battling each other,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “They hit a few more balls harder than we did. They had a double that didn’t matter, but they had a walk to two infield hits that got us. Sometimes there is not a whole lot you can do about that.
“They were both on their game tonight,” he said. “We didn’t get too many opportunities to do a whole lot. He’s a pretty good pitcher and he made it tough on us. His curve ball, we couldn’t see the spin, the change-up looked likes his fastball. The only thing I was hoping for was maybe we could get timing because he was slowing his body down on the change-up and that was it.
“I thought that we were going to get to him. We were pecking at it a little bit early, then he closed the door on us right there in the end. We have some hard nosed kids that have battled all year long and he is the best we have seen all year long.”
The game’s only run came in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Braden Blundell.
Benge has walked Solomon Skalnik to open the inning, but gave up an infield single to Jett Tucker that moved the runner to third base.
Blundell hit a ground ball to the hole at shortstop for an infield single that scored Skalnik.
The Millers did get the tying run on base in the bottom of the second when Trevin Pettigrew was hit buy a pitch. Phillips, though struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Kobe Flow’s single in the fourth inning broke up Phillips’ no-hitter. But, again, the runner was left on base when Phillips worked out of the inning by striking out the next batter.
The Millers final chance came in the bottom of the seventh inning and Pettigrew drew a two-out walk. Nick Scavitto hit a deep fly ball to left centerfield that Oswasso’s Reese Daigle tracked down for the final out.
“With a one-run deficit you get a guy on base and you never know what can happen,” James said. “We have had guys get big hits up and down the order and we were not able to do that today. Nick hit the ball well, but they have guys that can go chase them down as well.
“Owasso has a good club,” he said. “We have nothing to hang our heads about, they are a very storied program and we are trying to get to where they are at.
“I am proud of our kids, I love them and appreciate them, there is nothing we could have done different, they were just one run better than us today.”
Owasso’s last baserunner came in the fourth inning on a walk and Benge finished the night retiring the final 10 batters he faced, striking out eight of of the 10 batters.
“It makes it hard to lose a game like this because our kids deserve good things,” James said. “They have good days ahead of them whether it is one the baseball field or wherever because the go and take care of their business.
“It has been a fun year, we haven’t had one of these in a while,” he said. “Last year made it really tough on us because not getting do it, that has weighed heavy on my heart all year long. When we got shot down on March 13 it was a deal that weighed heavy on me. It has been a very emotional year.”