By BEN JOHNSON
PARK HILL — Houston Glad flirted with trouble early on but settled in to lead Tahlequah to an 11-1 victory over Keys on Tuesday night at Cougar Stadium. Glad pitched a complete-game one-hitter while logging 12 strikeouts.
The senior right-hander was slated to pitch at Sallisaw on Monday, but the game was postponed. That meant Glad would toe the rubber against the Cougars, in a game that was never on the schedule but was conjured up when Tahlequah and Keys both needed a game after Salina canceled on Tahlequah.
“Really just glad that we got to play today,” Tahlequah coach Nick Zodrow said. “We would of had four days off before our next game, but we came out and hit the ball well and played good defense.”
Tahlequah (11-8) had three errors but none of them led to any runs. That’s because Glad settled into a groove after a couple of tough patches in the first and second innings.
Keys’ Austin Tarver reached on a fielding error to lead off the Cougars’ bottom half of the first inning, but Glad retired the next three batters he faced to keep Keys off the scoreboard.
In the second inning, Tyler Russell doubled down the left-field line and eventually scored on a wild pitch with two outs. But Glad worked around two walks and a hit-by-pitch by getting out of a bases-loaded jam when Dillon Stratton grounded out to second base to end the threat.
From there, Glad limited the damage the rest of the way, retiring 13 of the final 15 batters he faced. He put away eight of the final 12 he saw via the strikeout.
“It all starts on the mound,” Zodrow said of Glad, who needed 103 pitches to improve to 4-2. “He really didn’t have his good stuff until the third inning, and after that he settled in and threw well.”
Glad’s appearance on the mound was a byproduct of Zodrow wanting to adhere to a pitching schedule that he’s been following all season long.
“We keep him and Colby (Brittain) on a rotation; they’re usually going to throw on Monday and Tuesday because that’s when we usually play district games,” said Zodrow, whose club will resume District 5A-3 play on Thursday at home against East Central.
“He was scheduled to throw today because we have Claremore next Monday and Tuesday. Who we’re playing is kind of irrelevant. We’re just trying to keep our guys sharp.”
Providing himself with some run support early, Glad posted Tahlequah’s first two runs on a double off the left-field wall in the first frame. The Tigers — who scored in every inning, save for the fourth — would lead from that point on.
Tahlequah enacted the run-rule with a four-run sixth inning. Brittain drove in a run, and Dustin Hicks’ double to left-center field plated two more.
In all, the Tigers recorded 12 hits against three Keys pitchers (Elisha Allison, Tristan Walker and Cameron Jumper). For the Tigers, Ryan Sanders had three runs batted in on three hits, including a two-run double in the third.