ENID, Okla. — Recent Drummond graduates Wyatt Gray, Seth Gray and Brandon Coontz all enjoyed hitting with wood bats in the Oklahoma Drillers' AAA 10-0 run-rule victory over MVP Blue Wednesday in the opening game of the AABC Red River Connie Mack Regional Qualifier at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
But not as much as Drillers pitcher Cooper Hunt enjoyed throwing against wood bats.
Hunt, a recent Dale High School graduate and Redlands Community College signee, struck out seven during his no-hitter performance, the third of his career. He had just missed a perfect game when he hit No. 2-hole hitter Noah Miller with a pitch in the first inning.
"I like throwing against wood bats,'' Hunt said. "You just try to attack more with wood because I know it's hard to make good contact with wood. I just tried to attack the zone.''
Hunt threw no-hitters against Sterling and Wanette-Macomb in high school.
"I'm just trying to do anything I can to help the team,'' he said, "I wasn't thinking no-hitter. I was just out there competing. It just happens.''
Hunt was thinking no-hitter a little more going into the top of the fifth after his teammates scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 10-0.
"You can relax a little more with that kind of lead,'' he said. "You can be more aggressive. I just kept pounding the strike zone and keeping guys off balance throughout.''
Hunt had his pitches in the 80-85 mph range. The only pitch that got away from him was hitting Miller.
"That wasn't on purpose,'' he said. "It happened to get away from me. I do whatever I need to do. It's always exciting to go out and play with the guys.''
Hunt's teammates were low key during the game. Coontz said no one talked about it in the dugout. The Gray brothers said they didn't even realize it was a no-hitter until after the game.
"It was pretty good,'' said Wyatt Gray, the catcher. "I just focused on every pitch that he was throwing. His fastball had good movement. They couldn't do anything with it. I really enjoyed throwing it to third after a strikeout.''
Seth Gray, the shortstop, had two assists - including the game-ending ground ball by Ty Wiggins.
"He was just getting outs,'' Seth Gray said. "He kept feeding me ground balls. There was no pressure. He kept getting them out. It was fun. He just attacked the zone like he was supposed to. It was fun. He made it a quick inning.''
Coontz caught a pop up by Tanner Collins in the first for his only defensive play of the day.
"It's very good to have someone on the mound that you can trust,'' Coontz said. "You just go out and compete.''
Hunt has developed a trust with Wyatt Gray, whom he was throwing to for only the second time.
"He makes it easy for me,'' Hunt said. "It was awesome throwing to Wyatt. He's the best catcher that I have ever had ... no doubt about it. Wyatt was setting me up and he was doing a good job hitting the spots. I just had to execute. I was able to do whatever I needed to do,''
Wyatt Gray had previously caught a four-inning perfect game by Bulldog teammate Garrett Stites.
"He just did what he was suppose to do,'' Wyatt Gray said. "I did my job. He made the pitches look good and executed. I enjoyed catching him. He is one of the most competitive people that I have ever played with. It was very fun.''
Hunt said Wyatt Gray's strongest suit is "his frame jobs are excellent. He has a good arm and calls a great game.''
Wyatt Gray was 0 for 2 at the plate, but scored a run in the third. He walked, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Gatlin Goodson. Wyatt Gray had gone to third but scored when the MVP Blue threw to second trying to nab Goodson taking an extra base.
"I wasn't great at the plate but the guys behind me picked it up,'' he said, "It makes me feel good knowing if I don't do the job, the others will.''
Seth Gray scored a run in the fourth after walking. He was hit by a pitch in the first and popped up in the third.
Coontz helped the ignite the big inning with an RBI double off the left field wall. He had grounded out in the second.
"I'm glad that I was able to get something going for the team,'' Coontz said. "The rest of the team followed my footsteps, We got started a little slower than we normally do. It took us a couple of inning to adjust. We started to go to right field.''
The Grays and Coontz have enjoyed hitting with the wood bats.
"It took awhile to get adjust to them,'' Coontz said. "It's definitely different from school ball, but I have been able to adjust quickly.''
The Drillers will play Batter's Box Navy at 11:15 a.m. Thursday at David Allen, Shockers Red at 12:15 p.m. Friday at NOC Enid's Failing Field and the Dallas Mustangs 17s at 6 p.m. Saturday in pool play.