By Harv Antle
HOUSTON, Mo. — In Monday’s opening round of the Houston Wood Bat Tournament, the Licking Wildcats edged the Mountain Grove Panthers 4-2.
Scoreless through two frames, Licking plated a pair of runs in the third. Cole Wallace doubled in Austin Stephens and then rode home on a Malachi Antle single.
Keyton Cook led off the sixth with a double for Licking and scored on a Stephens single. With two outs, Stephens stole second and came around on a Wallace single.
Mountain Grove answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and threatened for more in the bottom of the seventh. The Panthers loaded the bases with two outs, but Cook ended the rally and the game with a groundout.
Elijah Ullom started on the mound for Licking. He worked two scoreless innings, fanned three and allowed one hit.
Rusty Buckner earned the win with four innings of relief. He gave two runs on two hits and struck out five.
Cook worked the seventh and registered the save. He also paced the Licking offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Wallace drove in two runs and was 2-for-3 for the winners. Silas Antle doubled and walked, while Stephens was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.