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Baseball – Wildcats’ persistence earns second in districts

Photo by Shari Harris
The Licking Wildcats fought their way to the final game of districts this year. From left, front row: Malachi Antle, Alexander Buckner, Keyton Rinne, Cole Wallace, Garrett Gorman, Kaiden Wantland and Derek Mendenhall; standing: Spencer Rogers, Austin Stephens, Rusty Buckner, Silas Antle, Keyton Cook, Landon Medlock, Logan Gorman, Easton Ice, Nathan Burton and Elijah Ullom.

By Coach Harv Antle


HOUSTON – It took 10 innings, but the Licking Wildcats pulled the upset with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Tigers in the semi final round of the Class 3 District 9 Tournament last Monday.

Houston opened the scoring with a run in the first. Trevor Mitchell drove in Garyn Hall to put the Tigers on top.

Licking answered in the top of the second frame. Spencer Rogers plated Silas Antle with an RBI ground out.

Antle worked deep into the game as the Wildcats’ starter and limited the Houston offense but received a no decision. In five and two-thirds innings, Antle gave three runs, two earned, on five hits, and he struck out four.

Rusty Buckner singled and scored in the fourth for Licking to give the Wildcats their first lead at 2-1. Buckner singled again in the fifth, and Kaiden Wantland pinch ran and rode home on a Keyton Cook double.

Leading 3-1 in the sixth, Licking opened the door for Houston with a walk and an error. The Tigers took advantage and tied the game at 3-3.

Licking’s Austin Stephens relieved Antle in the sixth. He turned in three and one-third innings of scoreless work and allowed just two hits.

In the top of the 10th, Malachi Antle led off with a double. Following a fly out, Silas Antle drew a walk and Rusty Buckner doubled home Malachi Antle and sent Silas Antle to third.

Keyton Cook added another run with an RBI single to cap the inning. Cook then took the mound to close the game.

Houston used a Licking error and a Cody Allen single to score one run in the bottom of the 10th. Cook stopped the rally short to record the save and send the Wildcats to the championship game.

Buckner led the Wildcats’ offense with a 4-for-5 day at the plate. In the game, Licking racked up 13 hits.

Cole Wallace finished the day with three hits for Licking. Malachi Antle was 2-for-4 and Keyton Cook was 2-for-4.

Photos by Shari Harris


In the championship game on Wednesday, Licking fell to the Linn Wildcats, 17-7.

Licking took an early lead with three runs in the top of the first inning and a single marker in the second. The big blow was Silas Antle’s three-run home run in the first.

Linn countered with 12 runs in the bottom of the second. Licking used three pitchers in the inning but could not minimize the damage.

Licking staved off the run rule for an inning in the fifth. Trailing 16-5, Spencer Rogers doubled in Easton Ice and Keyton Cook to pull within nine and force the game to the sixth.

In the sixth, Licking was kept off the scoreboard. Linn plated a run to end the game.

Keyton Cook started for Licking and suffered the loss. A parade of Licking relievers followed that including Austin Stephens, Landon Medlock, and Kaiden Wantland.

Offensively, Licking got hits from Cole Wallace, Keyton Rinne, Malachi Antle, Easton Ice, Silas Antle, Rusty Buckner, and Rogers.

Licking finished the spring 12-11. Overall, fall and spring combined, Licking turned a record of 23-17 and won the Frisco League Tournament in the fall.

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