STILLWATER — Stillwater coach Jimmy Harris felt like his team missed a golden opportunity Monday night.
But he’s seen his team in this position before.
Stillwater fell 4-2 to Jenks after failing to solve right-hander Bryce Ward and now faces a must-win situation Tuesday in the rematch to win the district title and host a regional.
“Late in the game, I thought we had our chances,” Harris said. “We were one base hit away from tying the game. That’s part of the game. We’re not going to pout about it and we’re going to come out tomorrow ready to fight.”
Tied at 2 in the seventh, Jenks right fielder Caden Owens drove in the decisive run with a triple into the right-field corner. He then scored on a single by Shane Varela.
That allowed Ward, who has signed with Kansas State, to finish the game with a perfect seventh inning.
He allowed two runs — none of which were earned — on five hits. He struck out eight and also limited Stillwater star center fielder Jon Littell to just a single in three plate appearances.
Littell, though, hit the ball hard each time at the plate, skying out to the warning track in right field in the first and hitting a bullet to left field in the fourth that was right at Jenks’ Matthias Johnson.
Reliever Gunner Black suffered the loss for the Pioneers, allowing the two runs in the seventh after working around a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Stillwater (24-3) now turns to left-hander Carson Teel, a preferred walk-on at Oklahoma State, in Jenks on Tuesday against Oral Roberts signee Cale Tims. A win puts the Pioneers atop the district. A loss, however, likely sends them on the road in regionals to Tulsa Union.
If Jenks (27-4) wins, Owasso becomes the district winner and the Trojans remain second in the district.
“I’ve seen them respond in this situation,” Harris said. “I believe in them and I think they’re going to do a great job.”