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Wildcats open season with 4 wins

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Silas Antle prepares for a swing as Keyton Cook waits on deck.

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Kale Cook bats for the Wildcats.

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Keyton Cook awaits a pitch.

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Kale Cook works the mound at Sky Bacon Stadium.

By Coach Harv Antle


OZARK, Mo. – A pair of defending state champions opened the fall baseball season on Friday at Sky Bacon Stadium in Ozark, and the Licking Wildcats defeated the Silo Rebels 8-6.

Licking won the Class 3 state championship this past spring and Silo, near Durant, was the state champion of its class in Oklahoma. The Wildcats raced to an early 5-0 lead on Silo and despite a late rally from the Rebels were able to emerge with the victory.

Rusty Buckner started on the mound for the Wildcats and threw five innings to record the win. The senior was charged with five runs, two earned, on six hits and struck out two.

Austin Stephens picked up the save with two innings of relief. Stephens gave one run on one hit and fanned one.

Keyton Cook paced Licking’s offensive effort with a double, a home run, and three RBIs. Rusty Buckner went 3-for-4, Silas Antle was 2-for-3, and Kannon Buckner ripped a triple and also singled.


In their second game on Friday, Licking shut out Southwest Washburn 10-0 in six innings. Silas Antle picked up the win with six innings of one-hit ball that included eight strikeouts.

Antle helped his cause at the plate with a triple and a double while Keyton Cook recorded three hits and drove in two runs. Austin Stephens singled and drove in two runs while scoring twice.


On Saturday, Licking returned to Ozark and tamed the Cooter Wildcats 12-2. Keyton Cook allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits and struck out five while going the distance to pick up the win on the mound.

Karson Walker keyed Licking’s offense from the leadoff spot with two hits, two runs scored, and two runs-batted-in. Kellar Davis went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Rusty Buckner drove in five runs with a homer, triple and double.


Licking swept the weekend with a 12-1 win over the Crane Pirates in Saturday’s finale. Logan Gorman drove in two runs for the winners, Derek Mendenhall blasted an RBI triple, and Garrett Gorman drove in two runs and scored twice to lead the offense.

On the mound, Kale Cook started and picked up the win with four innings of work. The lefty allowed one unearned run on just two hits and struck out seven.

Jordan Ritz relieved Cook and finished the game with two scoreless innings that included no hits and four strikeouts.

Licking (4-0) returns to action Tuesday, hosting Hartville for the home opener.

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