By Harv Antle
LICKING 20, MTN. GROVE 8
HOUSTON, Mo. — The Licking Wildcats opened the season and the Houston Wood Bat Tournament with a 20-8 win over Mountain Grove on Monday night.
Keyton Cook was the winning pitcher. The junior went four innings and allowed four runs, none earned, on two hits and struck out seven.
The game was a back and forth contest with Licking holding an 8-7 edge after five innings. The Wildcats posted nine runs in the sixth and were on the verge of ending it on the run rule.
However, Grove staved off elimination with a single tally to send the game to the seventh. Licking answered with three more runs to provide the final margin of victory.
Rusty Buckner recorded the final six outs on the mound for the Wildcats after Karson Walker worked the fifth. Buckner allowed one run on two hits and fanned five.
Offensively for Licking, Cole Wallace collected three hits as did Cook. Buckner doubled and singled, Kellar Davis singled twice and Garrett Gorman had a clutch two-run pinch hit single.
LICKING 19, HOUSTON 4
HOUSTON, Mo. – The Licking Wildcats put up 19 runs on 15 hits Wednesday night and defeated Houston 19-4 in the second round of the Houston Wood Bat Tournament.
Silas Antle earned the win on the mound for Licking with 3+ innings of work. He allowed three runs on three hits, fanned four and walked four as he fought his command.
Austin Stephens relieved with two innings for the Wildcats. He was charged with one run on three hits.
Rusty Buckner drove six runs and went 2-for-4 for Licking. Cole Wallace scored four times and was 2-for-3, Malachi Antle collected two hits and 2 RBIs, and Keyton Cook drove in three runs on three hits.
The Wildcats improved to 2-0 with the victory. Licking’s final game of the tournament against Cuba was rained out and will be played on April 8.