NORMAN — Norman High and Norman North both had their chances, but it was the Timberwolves who were best able to take advantage of those chances in a narrow 3-2 victory over the Tigers in Monday’s Crosstown Clash.
The series-opening Crosstown Clash at Tiger Stadium gave both teams plenty of opportunities, but for the most part both squads couldn’t take full advantage to break open the game. NHS had the bases loaded with no outs in the second inning but scored just one run. North pitchers also gave the Tigers five free baserunners by hitting them with pitches, but the Tigers managed just one RBI in the game.
North also failed to fully take advantage of five Tiger errors and had several runners picked off on the basepaths. But the T-Wolves, and Nick Basquine come up big on what became the game’s deciding play.
It came in the top of the fourth inning. Austin Taylor started the rally with a single up the middle, North’s first hit of the game. Courtesy runner Tyler Bottoms then stole both second and third base, and after Basquine was hit by a pitch, the T-Wolves found themselves with runners on the corners with two outs.
On the next pitch Basquine took off for second, and the Tigers made the throw up the field but cut it off and threw back home in anticipation of nabbing the lead runner. But the throw went in the dirt, sending Sam Richison scrambling for the ball behind home plate. That allowed an alert Basquine to round third and narrowly beat the throw home, scoring what turned out to be the winning run for North.
The Tigers added another run in the sixth, but Brad Kinsey closed out the seventh without allowing a baserunner to secure the win.
Austin Cranford picked up the win for North, going five innings without giving up an earned run, while Brad Kinsey got the save. The loss went to Austin Stewart, who gave up just four hits.
“This game was a little more on the line than we wanted it to be,” North senior Luke Jones said. “Cranford and Kinsey both did a good job tonight and we’ll always try to take advantage of any mistakes they give us. But tomorrow, we have to be smarter on the bases and focus on making them pay for any mistakes.”
For NHS, it was the first game back for coach Pete Sangirardi, who spent most of the preseason away from the team for medical reasons. Outside of the errors his team made, he was encouraged by what he saw.
“I thought our pitchers pitched well tonight, we’ve just got to eliminate the mistakes,” he said. “With me just coming back, it’s early in the season and there’s a bit of an adjustment period for both the players and me before we get things back to normal. I think we’re much better than we were a year ago and we’re going to be fine.”
The second round in the Crosstown Clash comes at 3:30 p.m. today at North.
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