Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
The Chickasha High School baseball team didn't make too big of a deal out of Tuesday night's win at No. 1 Carl Albert. This year's Chicks understand that one regular season game is just one regular season game.
"One thing I like about our guys, is after the game was over, it wasn't like Christmas time," head coach Brad Gore said after the 7-6 win. "I didn't have to say it, the guys said it: 'This is just one game. Let's act like we've been here before. We're not going to have a big party tonight. It's just another ball game.'"
Gore still acknowledged that it was a big win, as it doesn't get much bigger in the regular season than beating the top-ranked team in a road district game.
The win evened the Chicks back up with Carl Albert in the district standings. Chickasha is 11-2, 5-1 in district play. Carl Albert is 8-2, also 5-1 in district.
Chickasha was down early in the game. Carl Albert first scored in the third inning, when Steve Thompson reached base on a walk, and Gavin LaValley hit a two-run homer. It was LaValley's second home run in as many games against Chickasha.
"I know Gavin pretty well, Kelsi and his sister played softball together," Gore said.
"When I walked down there, he said 'Coach, he just hung that one.' And [pitcher Cade Morris] knew it. When he came off the mound, he said 'It just slipped out of my hand.' That's just baseball."
The Chicks responded in the next inning with five runs of their own, not using power hitting like the Titans are known for, but using small-ball tactics to move runners.
Luke Dixon started the inning with a walk, and Morris also walked to put two runners on with no outs. Lane Smith singled on a ball that went to the center field wall to load the bases.
Brant Haile earned an RBI with a walk. Blake Burns drove in two runs with a double on the next at-bat, and Derek Sullivan put in another run with a bunt that led to a Carl Albert error.
Tresjon Davis bunted in Burns for the fifth run of the top of the fourth inning.
Chickasha extended its lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning. Smith singled, and scored when Sullivan reached base on a fielder's choice. Gore was never comfortable with the lead, though.
"I was sitting over there with Coach Taylor, and I said 'this baby's a long way from over', and he said 'I know', and then here they come," Gore said.
Chickasha scored a run on an RBI triple by Morris in the top of the sixth, but Carl Albert scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Morris began to approach the 90s in pitch count.
"What I think really got him was when he hit that triple," Gore said. "He had to leg that triple out and I think he kind of lost his legs. But he only made one bad pitch all day up until the sixth inning, and that's just a hanging slider to LaValley that he hit out of the ballpark."
Burns relieved Morris with two outs in the sixth inning, and was able to prevent Carl Albert from completing the comeback.
In the seventh inning, Carl Albert scored one run.
LaValley singled with one out. Chevin Noone doubled to move LaValley to third base. Cory Zangari hit a single, but got greedy and was thrown out trying to get to second for the second out. Jared Price grounded out to short for the game-ending out.
"It was a battle," Gore said. "Every time we play them, you've got to play really well to win. After yesterday, the kids came out and just played their guts out today and never gave up."