Enid News and Eagle
BARTLESVILLE — —
Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s Garrett Kelly was determined his junior college baseball career wasn’t going to end Friday at the Region 2 Champions at Doegnes Field.
Kelly threw a six-hitter, striking out nine and walking one as the Jets shut out archrival NOC Tonkawa, 5-0 to remain alive in the double-elimination tournament.
The Jets, 36-22, will play Redlands, which lost to Western at 3:30 p.m. today. If NOC Enid wins that game, it would play again at 7 p.m. against the Murray State-Western loser. A win there would put the Jets in the championship round Sunday.
“He had that mentality that he was going to put the team on his back and not let us go home,’’ said Jets assistant coach Scott Mansfield of Kelly. “He did exactly that. He pitched one great game, which is all you can ask for.’’
Former Pioneer star Edward Layton, who had beaten the Jets 2-1 last week, threw five shutout innings until NOC Enid broke out in the sixth.
Brandon Ruiz led off with a single, one of three hits he had on the day. Christian Faulkner followed with his ninth homer of the season, a shot over the center field fence.
Dusty Harper followed that with a shot over the left field fence, his fifth of the season.
“Layton did a good job of keeping us off balance until we made the proper adjustments,’’ Mansfield said. “Then we started hitting him a little.’’
Faulkner’s homer gave the Jets momentum. Harper’s shot may have given NOC Enid some confidence the first baseman was beginning to break out again.
“If he can bust out, what a perfect time to do it,’’ Mansfield said. “He made the same kind of adjustments that Christian did. The good thing about Christian is he doesn’t get discouraged. He lets his natural talent take over.’’
The Jets added an insurance run in the eighth. Harper doubled, went to third on an error and scored when Tanner Cruts hit into a double play.
Ruiz was 3-for-4 for the day, including a triple. Chase Knott was 2-for-4 with a double.
“When we get our 1-2-3-4 (J.R. Head, Ruiz, Faulkner and Harper) guys on, it gets us going,’’ Mansfield said.
Former Enid stars Dylan Nave and Miguel Bretado did their part for the Mavericks. Nave was 1-for-4 while Bretado was 2-for-3. He was the lone Maverick to get more than one hit off Kelly.
“It’s easy to win when your pitcher keeps them off the scoreboard,’’ Mansfield said.
The biggest thing was Kelly going nine innings saving the pitching staff.
“We’re loaded for a deep run,’’ Mansfield said. “That’s our plan.’’
Mansfield said the pitching staff was undecided about the starter for the 3:30 game.
“We have been able to push some guys back,’’ he said. “We’re real confident going into it. We’ll go with our best possible matchup.’’
NOC ENID 4, NOC TONKAWA 0
TONKAWA 000 000 000 —0 6 2
ENID 000 003 01X —4 10 2
WP — Kelly, 9 innings, 6 hits, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk. LP -— Layton, 7 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks. NOC Tonkawa — Bretado, 2-for-3; Nave, 1-for-4. NOC Enid — Ruiz, 3-for-4, triple, run scored; Faulkner, 1-for-4, 2-run homer; Harper, 2-for-3, solo homer, double, 2 runs scored; Knott, 2-for-4; Cruts, double.