By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Garron Nixon knew as soon as soon as it left his bat — the ball wasn’t coming back, and the Longhorns were going to the regional round.
The Chisholm senior gave the Longhorns an 8-0 lead in the nightcap with a sixth inning, bases-loaded home run to left center, all but sealing a sweep of Newkirk, a district championship and his and his teammates’ first trip to the 3A Regional baseball round.
Chisholm (3A No. 13, 24-5) won the opener 9-1, and the late game, 8-1 Thursday at Chisholm, but Nixon’s big hit removed most remaining doubt that the sweep was on.
“When I hit it, I knew,” Nixon said. “I just watched it. I knew it was a good one.”
“That was the point where I started to feel good about the game,” said Chisholm coach Jake Lenherr. “That kid that Newkirk was pitching (Cody Hudson), he was cutting us up, and he did a great job, so I never really felt good about that game (until then). After that hit, I took a deep breath and felt a little better about things.”
Chisholm starters Tabor Charles and Dylan Stegeman each pitched complete games in the title sweep. Charles (6-0) struck out 10 and walked just one in the opener. Stegeman (5-3) labored late against the Tigers, but pitched out of trouble enough to keep Newkirk at bay, stranding 11 of the 12 base runners he allowed, dodging the most danger in the fourth, forcing Newkirk pitcher Cody Hudson into a bases-loaded ground out.
“We pitched the heck out of it,” Lenherr said. “That’s what I expected both those guys to do: step on the mound, take the ball and attack hitters.”
Chisholm never trailed in the doubleheader, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the opener when Stegeman scored on a wild pitch. Trevor Galusha plated Charles with an RBI single in the third, later scoring on a Nixon sacrifice fly, and Caleb Lang put Chisholm up 6-0 with a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
The Longhorns took until the fifth inning to plate their first run in the nightcap, but put the game out of reach quickly once they did.
Braden Atkinson drove in the first runs of the late game with a two-run double in the fifth, and the Longhorns added two more on a wild pitch that scored Stegeman and an RBI single by Jordan Langton. Nixon’s grand slam in the sixth doubled the cushion.
“Those first (four) innings, I was worried we weren’t going to get a run,” said Stegeman, who struck out seven and walked eight. “I said, ‘I need a run right here, boys’ and they pulled through.’”
Nixon went hitless in the first game, but finished 2-for-5 with five RBI and the home run in the late game. Galusha went 4-for-7 with two doubles and two RBI on the day, and Charles went just 2-for-9 in the doubleheader, but crossed the plate a team-high four times.
Tanner Bergman and Hudson took the losses for Newkirk, which was eliminated with the losses.