The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 15, 2014

NOC Enid, Dodge split DH

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It might not have been a home run a la Ted Williams, but former Plainsman Haden Houska will have one good last memory of David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

Houska got a single in his last at-bat and scored a run to help Dodge City, Kan., Community College beat Northern Oklahoma College Enid 5-0 in the second game of a junior college doubleheader at the downtown ballpark Tuesday.

Austin Hannum, Dillon Freie and Matt Kennewell combined for a six-hitter as the Jets shut out Houska and the Conquistadors 7-0 in the first game.

“It was good to end on a good note,’’ said Houska, a 2012 Enid High graduate. “We could have played better the first game, but I was happy we could get a win in the second.’’

Houska was 1-for-4 but struck out twice in the opener. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in the nightcap. He scored one of five runs in the third on a two-RBI triple by Conner Koepp.

“I’m going to miss playing here (David Allen),’’ Houska said. “It (his last game) didn’t cross my mind when I was playing. I wasn’t nervous playing at home. I really like playing in front of my family. It definitely helps out.’’

Dodge City got four of its six hits in the five-run outburst, which was the only inning they scored. The Jets pitchers shut them out in the other 13.

“It only takes one inning to get you beat,’’ said Jets head coach Raydon Leaton, whose team dropped to 21-16 with the split. “You really have to commend our pitching. Unfortunately, they strung four of their six in one inning. When you do that, you’re going to score some runs. We pitched well, played good defense (no errors), but we didn’t compete well at the plate in the second game.’’

Chase Wilson, Anthony Bowmaker and Spencer Bedwell limited the Jets to four hits in the nightcap as NOC Enid was shut out for the fourth time this season.

The Jets rested starters Korbin Polston, Haden Johnson and Russ Colgan in the second game. All did pinch hit in the seventh.

“We expect our backups to step-up and win games for us, too,’’ Leaton said. “We don’t use that as an excuse. Those guys are good hitters and when they get their opportunity, they need to get in there and perform. We didn’t have good at-bats when we needed guys to have good at-bats.’’

Nik Gifford helped ignite the first game win with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. He had an infield single in the sixth innng of the second game when NOC Enid left the bases loaded.

“We probably got a little too anxious,’’ Gifford said. “We got in front, chasing bad pitches. We’ve got to get back to basics and try to take it the other way. That’s what I did the first game and I was able to get it down the line.’’

Dillon Harp had two doubles, an RBI and scored a run in the first game. Backup Nolan had a two-RBI single in the fifth. RBI doubles by Colgan and Gifford were the big blows in a three-run first. Nick Yoning singled in Gifford in the third.

But pitching was the story with several standout performances as Leaton tried to get in as many pitchers work as he could.

First-game starter Austin Hannum struck out four, allowed only two hits and walked none in a three-inning stint.

“My curve ball was working really good,’’ Hannum said.

“I just tried to get ahead in the count and let them get themselves out.’’

In the second game, the Jets got solid relief from Timberlake’s Stetson Buller, who retired all six batters he faced, and closer Cody Daylor, who struck out all three batters he faced.

“It was fast balls,’’ Daylor said. “That was about it. It’s a good confidence-builder.’’

Leaton said NOC Enid accomplished its goals for the day by getting a number of players in.

“You’ve got to get the guys who you’re going to be counting on in the postseason some innings and some at-bats to get them ready when the time comes,’’ Leaton said.

Devin Ring hadn’t thrown an inning all year, but when called upon to get the lefthander out (to start the seventh), he went right at him. He got two strikes. The batter might have won the battle, but Devin did what he was supposed to do when he was called on.’’

The Jets host OCAC rival Carl Albert in a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader Thursday at the on-campus Failing Field.