The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 13, 2014

Jets split with Western

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The glove of Western shortstop Tony Nunez prevented the Northern Oklahoma College Enid Jets from sweeping a doubleheader from the perennial power Pioneers at David Allen Memorial Ballpark Sunday.

The Jets (20-15, 3-5 in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference) won the first game 7-1 behind four RBI from Haden Johnson and two from Dyce Applegate.

Nunez, with the Pioneers clinging to an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the seventh in the nightcap, drove to his left to rob Jerame Littell of a lead-off hit.

That looked bigger after Nick Yoning hit his second triple of the game a batter later. Johnson followed with a walk, but Applegate hit into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

“When two good teams get together in a close game, it takes plays like that to win the game,’’ said Jets coach Raydon Leaton. ‘Credit them for making the plays. We were a hit from winning it ... we came up a run short, that happens sometimes.’’

The Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference race remains tight with only two games separating the six teams. NOC Enid (3-5) is still only two games behind Murray State (5-3) with the other four teams standing at 4-4.

“It’s still anybody’s race,’’ Leaton said. “If we can take care of business the next two weekends, we could set up a fun week with Murray. We still have a long ways to go, but we’re within striking distance.’’

Jon Chidester won his fourth straight start in the opener, going the distance, allowing six hits, while striking out seven. He picked a runner off first and two WOC runners were thrown out at third.

The Pioners left eight runners on as Chidester was at his best when he appeared to be in a jam.

“You bend but you don’t break,’’ Chidester said. “Western tries to hit the long ball. I just tried to keep them off balance. If they get a hit, you just get back up there and get the next one. I focus more when there’s runners on and try not to let them score runs.’’

Johnson, who hit his first homer of the season at Western on Thursday, was 3-for-3 in the opener with an RBI single in the fourth and a two-RBI triple in the fifth.

“I was able to get some pitches in the middle of the plate and I was able to handle them,’’ Johnson said. “I’ve been spending a lot of time in the (batting) cage to get back to driving the ball to the right side, which is what I do best.’’

Applegate had a two-RBI double to highlight the four-run third. Jared Thompson had an RBI double in the fourth. Dillon Harp had an RBI single in the fifth.

Yoning had put on a power display in the nightcap with a three-RBI triple in the first and a solo homer in the fifth, in addition to his two-out triple in the seventh.

“I was getting some good pitches in the middle of the plate that I could hit,’’ he said. “With the wind blowing like it was, it helped. We fought hard today. That’s all you can do and hope for the best at the end of the game.’’

NOC Enid had taken a 6-4 lead with three runs in the third as Russ Colgan had an RBI double, followed by an two-RBI double by Littell.

However, Western exploded for four runs in both the second and fifth innings. Robert DelaHoz had three RBI, two in the second on an RBI double and one in the fifth on an RBI single. Alnaro Rodriguez’s two-RBI double was the big blow in the fifth.

Austin Hilton took the loss for the Jets, allowing seven hits and six earned runs over four innings.

Bernard Gardner allowed only one run over the last three innings in relief of starter and winning pitcher Jordan Scott.

The Jets will host Dodge City, Kan., at 2 p.m. Tuesday in a nine-inning game. They will return to conference action Thursday at home against Carl Albert.