After prepping at Commerce High School, this week’s return to Mickey Mantle Field for the Mickey Mantle Classic was well-anticipated by Diamond head baseball coach Nathan Cook. Not only did he get to suit up again on the field he so loved as a youngster, but he led his Wildcats to a tournament championship to boot.
“That’s just icing on the cake,” Cook said.
After opening pool play with a 2-1 loss to Fairland in a walk-off on Tuesday, the Wildcats avenged the loss in the championship game of the Comet (small school) Division by besting the Owls 8-4.
The fourth inning made all of the difference on Saturday. Leading 3-1, the Wildcats watched as the Owls scored three runs on a bunt thanks to two throwing errors to go ahead 4-3.
But the Wildcats answered when Kolton Harville singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt. After Austin Singleton was hit by a pitch, Jordan Douglas singled to score Harville and tie it 4-4. Ryan Jinks followed with another single to score Singleton with the go-ahead run, before Zach Renfro drove in two with a single to make it 7-4.
The Wildcats (8-4) plated one more run in the sixth. Pitching on short rest, Divine returned to the mound for the second day in a row and earned the win with four innings pitched in relief with four strikeouts. Brodie Bien received a no-decision after striking out four in three innings.
Jinks, Douglas, Renfro and Bien had two hits apiece for the Wildcats, while Jeremy Morris and Harville had one each. Jinks led the team with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Renfro had two RBIs and Douglas had an RBI and scored twice. Morris scored a run.
Diamond defeated Haskell (Okla.) on Friday 7-5.
The Wildcats scored four runs in the first, but fell behind 5-4 in the fourth before plating three runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 7-5 lead.
Divine got the win after striking out six in 5 1/3 innings on the mound, and Jeremy Morris earned the save with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 relief innings.
Kyle Williams led the team with two hits, including a double, and three RBIs, while Morris had two hits and an RBI. Harville and Bein each had a hit and an RBI in the victory.
One hit was all the Wildcats needed to escape Wyandotte on Thursday 1-0. In a scoreless, and hitless, performance through the first six innings, the Wildcats got their first hit in the bottom of the seventh on a Jordan Douglas single to score Cooper Cianci with the winning run.
Jinks threw the shutout on the mound with 11 strikeouts.
Diamond fell to Fairland on Tuesday, 2-1, after leading 1-0. Both Owls runs came in the sixth inning on two errors, a passed ball and a balk.
The Wildcats entertain Liberal at 4:30 p.m. Monday.