SHAWNEE — There was no question who was going to get the ball for Hilldale in Saturday's Class 4A state championship game.
Hilldale coach Darren Riddle turned to his ace, Hunter Harrison, who turned in a gutty pitching performance on just one day of rest to lift the Muskogee school to its first state championship in baseball.
The Hornets didn't have an extra-base hit, scored their only runs on a wild pitch and a passed ball, but still defeated top-ranked Berryhill, 2-1, in the state title game Saturday night at Shawnee High School's Ed Skelton Field.
“That's a tribute to our defense and Hunter,” Riddle said.
Harrison fanned eight, walked just one batter and allowed only six Berryhill hits. The Chiefs' first batter of the game, Dyce Applegate, doubled and later scored on a squeeze play, but after that Harrison allowed only two Berryhill runners to reach second base.
“I started out kind of tight because of the one-day rest. I'm not used to that,” Harrison said. “I was kind of sore. But I told myself I couldn't lose this game for my team. I had to do this. As the game went on, I got stronger and stronger.”
Berryhill threatened in the seventh, putting two runners on with one out, but Harrison got the final two outs on a strikeout and a pop fly on the infield.