SALINA, OK —
Salina didn’t surprise many people by pounding Nowata twice Thursday to claim a district title.
That doesn’t mean the return to next week's regional tournament will be any less sweet.
In Thursday’s opener, the Wildcats blitzed the Ironmen 12-1 in six innings and followed that win up with a 9-0 decision in Game 2 to wrap up yet another district championship.
The pair of wins moves Salina to 22-8 on the year and gives the Wildcats the inside track to hosting a regional playoff tournament.
In the opening game, Salina (on the scoreboard as the visitor) started slowly, as Nowata kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for the first two innings. Salina broke the game open in the third and fourth innings, racing to a 5-1 lead on the strength of a Jake Tolbert RBI double and Bret Fite’s two-RBI single in the third and a Colton Burgess two-RBI single in the fourth.
The Wildcats left the bases loaded to end the inning on a Dillon Gardner grounder, but found their stroke again in the sixth, scoring five times to run-rule the Ironmen.
Tolbert notched the Game 1 win, pitching five innings and allowing three hits while striking out six Ironmen. Tolbert had a good game at the plate as well, racking up two hits and a pair of RBIs. Fite went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, Cale Backward went 2-for-3 with a double.
Designated hitter Colton Burgess had a 2-for-3 game, batting in a trio of runs and forcing an error that scored both Salina runs in the fifth inning.
Burgess kicked off the Wildcat scoring in Game 2, blasting a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning to give the Salina the only lead it would need.
Brent Soldier pitched the second half of the doubleheader and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a base hit. Soldier pitched a complete game, fanning four and walking two.
Fite was a perfect 4-for-4 in the second game, including a pair of doubles and a pair of singles. Cale Backward swatted a two-RBI double in the second inning and an RBI single in the third to help Salina push its lead to 8-0.