By Harv Antle
HOUSTON – The Licking Wildcats advanced to the finals of the Class 3 District 9 Tournament with a 10-0 win over the Mountain View-Liberty Eagles on Wednesday night, May 17, in Houston.
Keyton Cook went the distance for the Wildcats’ mound. In five innings, the junior allowed one hit and fanned nine.
Scoreless into the third, Licking broke the game open with nine runs. Silas Antle’s RBI double to left plated Keyton Rinne to start the rally.
Cook followed with a run-scoring single, and Garrett Gorman added a two-run single later in the inning. Rusty Buckner capped the scoring with a two-run double.
The Wildcats invoked the run rule in the bottom of the fifth when Buckner singled with the bases loaded. The win raised Licking’s record to 22-6.
Rinne finished the day 1-for-2 with two runs-batted-in for Licking. Buckner collected two hits and three RBIs, and Gorman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
The Licking Wildcats came from behind and defeated the Houston Tigers 6-4 on Thursday night to capture the Class 3 District 9 championship.
Houston used a walk and two hits in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. After the first, Licking starter Kellar Davis settled in and blanked the Tigers through the sixth.
Licking’s Silas Antle singled in Malachi Antle in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit in half. The Wildcats tied the game in the fifth when Cole Wallace led off with a single and scored on a Keyton Cook RBI.
The Wildcats took the lead in the sixth and added some important insurance. Malachi Antle drove in the go-ahead run, Rusty Buckner cracked a two-run single, and Keyton Cook singled in a run to make it a 6-2 game.
Buckner relieved Davis and surrendered a couple of two-out runs before slamming the door with a game-ending strikeout to earn the save.
Davis was credited with the win after going six innings. He gave two runs on five hits and fanned 11. The Wildcats’ six runs came on nine hits.
Cole Wallace went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Licking. Keyton Rinne collected two hits, Buckner drove in two as did Cook. Malachi Antle reached base four times, scored twice and knocked in a run.
Licking improved to 23-6 and won a district for the first time in 20 years. The Wildcats will face Forsyth in the sectional round.
Photos by Shari Harris