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Mac surges to command in 5A regional

Highlanders dump Guymon, Piedmont to reach title game


PIEDMONT  MacArthur took two completely different routes to victory Thursday, getting one victory in a rout and then winning the next game by a 1-0 score after getting a wild pitch walk-off that puts the Highlanders in the driver's seat of the 5A regional at Piedmont High School.

First the Highlanders routed Guymon, 17-5, and that set up the much-anticipated battle with Piedmont in the winner's bracket finals. The teams didn't disappoint as Mac's Michelle Artzberger and Piedmont's Jacob Ellis both were in command on the mound.

That was until the bottom of the eighth when the Highlanders got a pair of runners on base, one of those being on a single by Colby Flood. Flood moved up after an error, but Ellis came back to register the second out.

But with a chance to extend the game to the ninth, Ellis a pitch in the dirt that got past the catcher allowing Flood to race home with the winning run.

Ellis wound up allowing just four hits but he walked four and one of those allowed Flood to get into scoring position.

Artzberger allowed two hits, walked four and fanned five. The walks and four Mac errors kept Artzberger scrambling to get hitters out with runners on base and each time he found a way, leaving seven Piedmont runners stranded on base.

Flood actually had two of the Mac hits while Aaron Woodson and Zac DeLong added the other two.

Mac will now sit back and watch the loser's bracket to see who it will face in the title game today at 6:30 p.m. Altus and Guymon were playing the late game Thursday, then the winner of that game will face Piedmont at 4 p.m. Mac has to win just one more game to reach next week's state tournament.

The first-round game featured plenty of stellar hitting for the Highlanders who exploded for 13 runs in the final three innings to pull away from Guymon for a 17-5 win in the first round of the Class 5A West Regional 4 in Piedmont on Thursday.

Although Mac won the postseason matchup via run rule in six innings, the Tigers tested coach Rodney DeLong's squad for a majority of it. Guymon tallied runs in four innings, including three-straight from the third to the fifth. 

The Tigers held a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, and though the Highlanders tied it up in the bottom half before taking a 4-2 advantage in the second, Guymon wouldn't go away. Three of the Tigers' seven hits were home runs. 

Before Mac went on its scoring spree, the Tigers came back to tie the game at 4 in the fourth. 

"They played us tough," DeLong said. "They hit some good balls and stayed in the ballgame. They didn't get a lot of hits off us, but every time they hit it hard, it seemed like it went over the fence. They played well, but he didn't start good. We didn't score a whole lot of runs early, but then we started squaring up the ball a lot better."

Malik Wilson did his job on the mound in the top of the sixth to maintain the Highlanders' 13-5 lead, and Jack Smith finished Guymon with a walk-off grand slam to propel Mac to second-round matchup with host Piedmont. 

Smith finished 3-of-5 from the plate with 8 RBIs to lead the eight Highlanders who recorded hits in the victory. Brad Hoskins (3-of-4) and Zac DeLong (2-of-3, 4 RBIs) were the only other Mac batters to record multiple. The Highlanders finished with 13 hits. 

"They threw a lot of breaking ball, and they were real soft and we were just out in front," DeLong said. "Jack had some big hits in the game. We were down 2-0 in the first inning with two outs, and Jack hit a 2-run single to keep us in it. But it was a pretty good contribution from everyone."

Trey Longacre, Colby Henry and Wilson combined to throw 10 strikeouts for Mac. Meanwhile, Guymon managed only one strikeout.

"I was trying to keep from using very much pitching because we're already depleted as it is," coach DeLong said. "I had everyone on a pitch count. Longacre, I want to be able to bring him back on Saturday in case we have to use him because we're going to need it. I didn't burn anyone else, so the pitching situation is good. I made so many pitching changes to just preserve arms because you never know how many games you're going to have to play."

The Lawton Constitution

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