Guthrie Bluejays - 8
Woodward Boomers - 2
Down 2-0, the Bluejays were nine outs away from looking up at rest of District 5A-1. A loss against Woodward would've placed Guthrie in a fifth place tie with Guymon, one spot above winless Noble in the cellar. This was an important game and it showed. After Guthrie left the bases loaded twice in the second and third inning, the pressure built. After Woodward scored two runs in the top of the fourth, the Bluejays tightened up. It could've been easy for Guthrie to become overly aggressive at the plate. But in the bottom of the fifth, Guthrie jump started its offense and they did so by being patient.
Rigo Martinez stepped into the box and quickly found himself down to his final strike. After fouling off a pair of pitches, Martinez displayed his discipline at the plate working his way into a walk. That one walk would change the outcome of the game.
Tyler Kisner followed the walk with a single to left. Austin Gellenbeck entered the game and drove in Martinez and Kisner with a two-run RBI double to center. The hit not only tied the game but it also put the 'Jays at ease. That's when the flood gates opened.
10 more Bluejays came up to bat in the inning as Guthrie erupted for eight runs to put a strangle hold on their second district win.
Despite squandering critical opportunities early on, the Bluejays persevered thanks to Martinez.
"It was one of those deals where you need to score early to draw some energy and once you don't score then you can get uptight especially in a district game that we feel like we should win, but thank goodness Rigo Martinez had a huge at bat in the fifth inning," Guthrie Head Coach Casey Porter said. "He got down 0-2 then fouled off some pitches and worked his way into a walk. Then we got the single after that then Austin tattooed one and tied the game up and we all relaxed. It all goes back to the at bat that Rigo started the inning with. If he gives in and strikes out, we probably don't tie it up. You could feel once we tied it up and got the lid off of it, you could feel it was going to come. It just took some time to get going."
Before Martinez was able to earn the walk that turned the tide in favor of the Bluejays, it was freshman Nolan Gagnon who swung the momentum in Guthrie's favor.
With two runners on in the top of the fifth, Gagnon came in to relieve Evan Kowalski. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk to load the bases, Gagnon was able to pick up two strikeouts to leave the three runners stranded on base. The moment was huge and Porter believes it helped pave the way for the come from behind victory.
"Nolan did a great job," Porter said. "We had to take Kowalski out and then Nolan came in to a very difficult situation as a freshman and shut the door. Without that performance, we're not even talking about the Rigo at bat. If he gives up a three or four spot and we're down 6-0, we're probably not even talking about Rigo's at bat because it's probably irrelevant. Nolan did a good job of coming in and shutting the door."
Gagnon and Martinez played crucial roles in the win, but one can't forget about Gellenbeck. Gellenbeck entered the bottom of the fifth, fresh off the bench and tied the game up with a huge hit. He later came around in that inning and picked up another RBI to give him three in just one inning. Porter says he couldn't be more proud of Austin.
"He was huge," Porter said. "He's a kid that started for us early and honestly didn't play well. Now he's getting his opportunity again and he's taking advantage of it. That's exactly what competing and competition is meant to do. He's taken advantage of it and I'm very, very proud of him."
Guthrie travels to Woodward today for another very important district ball game. A win is vital if Guthrie has hopes of finishing in third place in 5A-1.
"This game was a character builder," Porter said after the game. "We told them tomorrow is a huge game. Tomorrow is basically, unless we slip up, tomorrow will more than likely be for third place in district. We're looking forward to it."