Dale’s single run in the bottom of the third would have gotten the job done, but the Pirates struck for two insurance runs in the fourth to blank Wister 3-0 Thursday in a Class A state quarterfinals contest at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
This puts the Pirates one win closer to successfully defending their 2011 crown and adding fall title No. 9 to the trophy case.
Dale matched Wister at four hits, and the two teams combined for five errors under a cool and cloudy sky. A scoreless deadlock was broken when two of those errors worked together to bring Dale leadoff hitter Evan Anderson home.
Anderson reached to open the bottom of the third as Wister third baseman Caleb Moore failed to hang on to a sharply hit grounder, and Tanner Nelson then bunted Anderson over to second. Chase Byndas recorded an RBI triple — scoring Anderson — when he lined one into right that first got by the right fielder and then got by the third basemen on an errant throw.
The Pirates scored twice more in the bottom of the fourth when Anderson ripped a double into deep right to drive in Gage Ross and Gunnar Hathcock.
Ross had reached on a one-out infield single, and Hathcock pushed him over second as he reached on a fielder’s choice.
Anderson and Byndas finished as the game’s only extra-base hitters, and Anderson — at 2-for-3 — was joined by Wister’s Jon Watts as the game’s only multiple hitters.
Winning pitcher Jace Wilkins threw all seven innings for Dale. He fanned eight and did not issue a walk.
“He threw it well. I was proud of him,” said Dale coach Jerry Sanford. “That’s probably the best I’ve seen him throw in his last few outings. He kept them off-balance.”
Colby Turnipseed tossed the first four for the Wildcats and absorbed the loss.
He gave up four hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out three batters, walking one and plunking two. Tyler Gibson closed and did not surrender a hit over the final two frames.
Both teams left the bases loaded on one occasion, and the two combined for 11 stranded runners (six for Wister, five for Dale).
“We struggled on defense a little, but when we had to, we made plays,” Sanford said.
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Offensively, Sanford said things were “not very good.”
“We didn’t come ready to swing,” he said.
Sanford credited Wister’s pitchers with throwing the ball well.
Dale, now 28-3, will face semifinals opponent Silo at 4 p.m. today at Edmond Memorial High School. Silo defeated Colbert in the quarterfinals, 6-3.
Also in today’s semifinals are Sterling and Latta, who will square off at 6:30 p.m. Sterling bested Byng 4-1 Thursday, and Latta blanked Rattan, 6-0.
Saturday’s championship game will begin at noon at Bricktown Ballpark.