Dale coach Jerry Sanford was not pleased with his No. 1-ranked team's effort in Thursday's first round of the Class 2A state baseball tournament.
“I felt like I had one or two kids that showed up mentally ready to hit,” Sanford said. “You can't do that and win in the state tournament.”
Sanford's squad did win Thursday, though, 7-4 over Fairview to advance to Friday's semifinals.
Fairview opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead when Gavin Boyer's sacrifice fly scored Ross Smith.
But Dale senior shortstop Landon Coon opened the bottom of the first by blasting a home run over the left field fence. It was the first of four runs the Pirates scored in the frame.
Coon also opened the fourth inning with a solo home run.
Still, Sanford was disappointed with the amount of fly balls his team hit.
“You've got to have an approach at the plate and hit the ball in the line or on the ground,” Sanford said. “T-ball teams can catch fly balls.”
His Dale squad loaded the bus, went home and practiced hitting. He said the Pirates will hit again before coming back to Dolese Park for their 4 p.m. semifinal against Tushka.
“Either we're gonna hit it, or we'll have a lot of blisters on our hands,” Sanford said.
Dale (25-6) won the 2011 fall baseball state title, but hasn't won a spring title since 2007.
Silo 6, Hennessey 5 (9 innings)
Silo found itself in trouble twice, and found its way out both times.
The Rebels (24-11) topped Hennessey 6-5 in nine innings Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Class 2A baseball state tournament Friday.
Silo scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and had all the momentum. But Hennessey (26-11) countered with its own three-run frame, during which Silo committed two errors, and the game went into extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, Hennessey loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the ninth. But junior pitcher Kyle Tate forced two straight ground balls, and Silo escaped unscathed.
In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Lance House reached on an error, and, three batters later, was driven home by freshman Jarris Hamilton's game-winning single.
Silo advances to face the winner of Thursday's late Oktaha-Wister game in the semifinals Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Tushka 5, Ketchum 4
Tushka senior pitcher C.J. Gregory got off to a rough start but calmed down and pitched his team to a 5-4 win over Ketchum in the first round of the state tournament Thursday.
Gregory gave up three runs on three hits and walked a batter in the top of the first. But he threw four straight scoreless innings and surrendered just one more run as his team came back to take the lead.
Tushka took control of the game in the fifth inning, when it scored on an RBI double from Taylor Mobbs and an RBI single from Wyatt Daniel.
Tushka (25-7) advances to face No. 1 Dale in the semifinals.Wister 9, Oktaha 3
Defending champion Wister opened the Class 2A baseball state tournament with a 9-3 win over Oktaha.
Wister opened the game by scoring six unanswered runs in the first two innings. Then, in the top of the seventh, Jon Watts added to the Wister lead with a three-run double.
Wister continues the defense of its 2011 title at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a semifinal game against Silo.