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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Indians drop 4A title game after wild rally in semifinals

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  • SHAWNEE — In a season that was routinely magical and at times miraculous, the Plainview baseball team was unable to come away with one final trick, falling 3-1 to Berryhill in the Class 4A state championship Saturday at Shawnee High School.
    The loss was a sour end to an incredible run by Plainview (33-7), who entered the title game on a 17-game winning streak, capped by two extraordinary wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
    "I hate it for these boys, because they truly believed that they were going to win today," Plainview coach Brent Hackney said. "They've worked so hard and given so much up to do what they've done this year.
    "To make it this far and come up short hurts."
    In just his fifth start of the year after coming back from an arm injury, starting pitcher Gus Wells did more than enough to earn the win for Plainview, surrendering five hits and no earned runs through six innings of work.
    However, the Indians were plagued by three costly errors, one in the first inning and two in the third that led to each of Berryhill's three runs.
    "It just didn't go our way today," Hackney said. "There's no reason for any of these kids to hang their head."
    Meanwhile, Berryhill starter Zack Jackson was electric for the Chiefs on the mound, limiting the potent Indian offense to a single run in the second on a Wells RBI single, while the defense made play after play in support.
    "Those guys are champions for a reason," Hackney said. "They made all the plays."
    That Plainview even made it to the state championship seemed almost inconceivable just 24 hours earlier.
    The Indians trailed Byng in the state semifinal at Edmond Memorial 3-0 in the seventh inning on Friday before putting together a miraculous rally, capped by a bases-loaded game-winning RBI single from Carter Bowker to give Plainview an incredible 4-3 win.
    The winning run was set up by senior Devin Hartman, who overcame a slow start at the plate to belt a two-run single up the middle that broke the scoreless streak.
    "I just approached it like any other at-bat," Hartman said. "That was probably the most important hit I've ever had."
    A gutsy steal of third by James Bowker put the tying run just 90 feet away, then Bowker stole home on a dropped third strike to Drake Harper to knot the game 3-3. Byng elected to walk the bases loaded to face Carter Bowker.
    Big mistake.
    "When they walked (Kyle Williams) to face me, I was definitely ready," Bowker said. "They shouldn't have done that."
    It was a sterling example of the resolve the team showed during the entire season.
    Page 2 of 2 - "They have always found a way to overcome and come through all year," Hackney said.
    For senior Chase Brooks, while the disappointment of Saturday's loss was momentarily stinging, he was still able to appreciate the way the senior class had seized momentum of the season following a crushingly disappointing blown loss to Ada on March 25.
    The Indians would go on to win 24 of the next 26 games, mapping a course that led them to within three runs of a state title in the program's first year in 4A.
    "I felt like we started to play as a team and developed our chemistry in a way that we hadn't to that point," Brooks said. "And that didn't change today, we just couldn't make the plays we needed to and it bit us in the rear."
    As for the future, the Indians will lose starters James Bowker, Garrett Foster, Brooks, Hartman and Newman Hoben, but have plenty of pieces to make a run next season.
    "They need to get hungry for it, to understand how close it was," Hackney said. "To see that hard work and dedication can take you a long, long way."
    Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD
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