LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Salina’s eight-run lead withered down the stretch but the Wildcats had just enough juice in the tank to sputter past Vinita, 9-8, Friday night and into the Salina Invitational title game.
The Wildcats will take on Ketchum in the 12:30 p.m. championship game Saturday at Sam Baker Stadium.
Salina (14-11) needed just three outs in the fifth inning to run-rule the Hornets, who won the coin toss and played as the home team.
However, Vinita cut Salina’s 8-0 lead to 8-2 to prompt two more innings, and the Hornets took advantage.
After Bryce Kerns singled for the Wildcats to bring home Kyle Johnson in the sixth inning, Vinita took to the plate in the bottom of the seventh and scored six runs with two outs on the board.
Cale Backward struck out the final Hornet batter with the tying run at third base and the winning run at second to clinch an exciting win for Salina.
Cody Daniels and Kyle Johnson hit back-to-back RBI singles in the third inning for the ‘Cats, and Logan Gardner drew a walk to score another.
Johnson went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Kerns was 2-for-4 and batted in two runs.
Bret Fite earned the win on the mound, throwing five innings before Logan Gardner relieved him.
Salina 4, Inola 3
SALINA — Salina erased a 3-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn a 4-2 win over Inola Saturday afternoon in a Salina Invitational pool game.
Kyle Johnson’s sacrifice fly to left field scored Colton Burgess to complete a wild end to an otherwise uneventful game.
Neither team plated a run until Salina added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Inola took a late lead with a three-run seventh inning, but Salina loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning and Cale Backward scored on a passed ball to tie the game.
Cody Daniels pitched all seven innings to pick up the win.