Class A state baseball: Pioneer outlasts Okarche 2-1 in opening round
Pioneer's Brett McNaughton and Okarche's Austin Kretchmar put on an exceptional pitchers' duel.
Something had to give when Pioneer's Brett McNaughton and Okarche's Austin Kretchmar faced off in the first round of the Class A baseball state tournament at Palmer Field at Dolese Park on Thursday.
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The expected pitchers' duel materialized and in the end, it was McNaughton and Pioneer coming out with a 2-1 win.
The Mustangs (32-3) advanced to play Rattan at 11 a.m. Friday in the first semifinal.
Okarche's season ended 23-5.
“You knew it was going to be a close game,” McNaughton said. “I felt really confident going out there. I'd been pitching well lately.”
The game was tied going into the bottom of the sixth, and Kretchmar appeared to be cruising through another inning after retiring the first two batters.
But Claye Hammock delivered a double before Deiondre McKinney lined a single to right.
Hammock looked like he was going to have to hold at third, but Okarche right fielder John Schaefer bobbled the ball, giving Hammock just enough time to score.
“That was a big hit by Deiondre,” McNaughton said. “I felt it when we got that one. I felt all my energy coming back to me and just couldn't wait to get back out there.”
Pioneer took the lead in the second on Tanner Leon's RBI single.
Okarche tied it in the fourth on a wild pitch after McNaughton walked the first two batters.
Roff 3, Sterling 2
Sophomore Austin Fick delivered an RBI single in the sixth inning, putting Roff back on top after some shaky defense had given Sterling a chance the inning before.
Roff (19-6) will play Amber-Pocasset at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
All of the Tigers' runs were produced by the bottom part of the lineup and all by underclassmen.
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