By Coach Harv Antle
HOUSTON, Mo. – The Licking Wildcats claimed the championship of the 2022 State Farm Houston Wood Bat Classic on Saturday with a 9-4 victory over the Cuba Wildcats.
Licking was patient at the plate and parlayed just three hits into nine runs as they drew 11 walks. Meanwhile, Licking’s pitchers scattered six hits but issued only one walk.
Alex Buckner started on the mound for Licking. He went three innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and fanned a pair.
Cole Wallace worked a clean fourth inning for Licking. The Wildcats trailed 3-0 heading to the fifth.
After Licking flipped the score to 8-3 in its favor in the top of the fifth, the Wildcats turned to Silas Antle on the hill. He tossed the final three frames for the save, fanning six along the way and making Wallace a winner.
On Friday night, Licking prevailed over the host Tigers of Houston 5-2 in nine innings. Keyton Cook, the final of four Licking pitchers, was the winner.
Licking’s Kaiden Wantland singled in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 deadlock. The Wildcats tacked on some insurance and then withstood a furious Houston rally that saw the game end with the bases full of Tigers.
Licking (3-0) returns home this week and hosts St James on Monday and Salem on Tuesday. After a trip to Crocker on Thursday, the Wildcats finish the week at home with Ellington on Friday.