Ashburn mows down 11, Oak Grove stops Hornets in Class 1A finals
SULPHUR — The No. 2 Grand Lake Hornets ran into a buzz saw Saturday in the Class 1A finals, as No. 1 Oak Grove’s Chad Ashburn pitched a no-hitter to lead the Tigers to a 4-1 win Saturday.
Ashburn, the game’s outstanding player, struck out 11 batters and walked one. He had a perfect game going until the Hornets got a pair of base runners on two errors with one out in the top of the fifth inning.
“Hats off to Oak Grove,” Grand Lake head coach Tyler Alton said. “They played a heck of a game.
“That pitcher was awesome. He pitched a great game. “
It was the Hornets’ second appearance in the Class 1A finals in five seasons.
Grand Lake got a chance to rally in the top of the seventh when Eli Fountain drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on a ground out by Gavin Faulk, but Ashburn got a strikeout to end the game.
While the loss is not the way the Hornets wanted the season to end, Alton is looking forward to the future with most of the lineup returning next season.
“We had some nerves,” Alton said. “We had only two kids on our roster that had played in a playoff baseball game before this year, so I think the experience is definitely going to help us.
“It is kind of one of those bitter-sweet things. It is great for our athletic program, great for our school and community. We went through a lot this year with those hurricanes. It is great to get here, but I don’t like to celebrate second place trophies often. But we have a lot of young people on the team, and they got a lot of experience today on this field and type of game.”
While the Hornets offense struggled, Grand Lake junior pitcher Devin David kept the Tigers in check most of the game with seven strikeouts. But Oak Grove put together three hits in the third inning and got help from a pair of errors to take a 3-0 lead. Deuce Clement hit an RBI double to bring home the first run, and Reid Milligan added an RBI single.
“It was one inning, and it was kind of ironic because what we normally do to people with the bunts and putting pressure on people is kind of what happened to us,” Alton said. “Then they came through with a couple of hits.”
Oak Grove celebrates with the obligatory dogpile after beating Grand Lake to win the Class 1A state championship at the state baseball tournament Saturday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.