Keys had an answer after dropping back-to-back District 3A-7 games to Vian by winning three of four games at the Gore Tournament late last week.
The Cougars posted a pair of 10-0 shutout wins over Keota and Okmulgee, and defeated Porum, 14-13. They suffered their only setback to Warner, 9-6, in extra innings.
Keys, currently 8-3 under head coach Nick Zodrow, will resume play Friday when it hosts Muldrow in another non-district game.
“It was good to bounce back and win some games,” Zodrow said. “I thought we let one get away against Warner. We need to get better defensively with district games coming up, but we’re 8-3, trending in the right direction and finding ways to win.”
Rhett Walker paced the lineup with eight hits over the four games in Gore. The senior outfielder doubled, tripled and drove in six runs.
The top six hitters in the lineup - Reed Trimble, Walker, Cooper Hamilton, Lane Taylor, Bronc Quetone and Logan Little - combined for 25 hits, three of those for extra bases, and 19 RBIs.
“I’ve been pretty satisfied with our at-bats,” Zodrow said. “We’ve been swinging the bats pretty good lately. Our 1-6 hitters have really been solid for us. They’re producing runs and getting on base. Rhett hit the ball really well, and even the outs he made were just as loud. He hit missiles right at people, and he put pressure on the defenses.”
Little and Walker both tossed three-inning shutouts as starting pitchers. In the opener against Keota, Little allowed just one hit and recorded five strikeouts. Walker gave up a single hit and collected five strikeouts against Okmulgee.
“Those guys have pitched well,” Zodrow said. “For the most part, they’ve come in and thrown strikes and given us a chance. Really, our 1 and 2 [Reed Trimble and Rhett Walker] are pretty good, and those other guys have been solid. We’ve had to throw a bunch of guys in there to try to eat up some innings for us.”
Walker led the offense with a 3 for 3 performance against Keota. Walker scored three runs and drove in two more. Keys, who scored six of its runs in the second inning, finished with seven hits. Grant Stricker joined Walker with two RBIs and had one hit, and Quetone had one hit and two runs scored.
The Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to get past Porum on Saturday. Taylor scored on a passed ball to get Keys even, and Trimble drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to bring home Quetone for the game-winning run.
Trimble led the lineup with three hits and four runs scored. Trimble drove in a pair of runs and walked three times. Walker went 2 for 4 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs, and Quetone had two hits, knocked in one run and reached base three times via the walk. Taylor crossed home plate three times and drove in two runs.
Walker picked up the win in relief, throwing a scoreless seventh inning. Walker needed just 11 pitches and had one strikeout.
In their tournament finale against Okmulgee on Saturday, the Cougars scored nine times in the second inning. Walker went 2 for 3 with a triple and knocked in a pair of runs to lead an offense that produced six hits. Trimble, Taylor, Colton Combs and Miles Ray each had one hit.
Hamilton and Quetone had two hits apiece in the eight-inning setback to Warner. Hamilton belted a three-run homer to left field on a 1-1 pitch in the first inning after Trimble led off with a walk and Walker singled. Quetone drove in one run.
Quetone took the loss in two innings of relief. He allowed one earned run on four hits and registered one strikeout.
The Cougars will get back to district play on Monday, April 12 when they host Salina (12-5, 5-1). Keys, who is 3-2 in district games, will visit Salina on Tuesday, April 13.