LONE GROVE — The American National Bank Ardmore Legion Cardinals hammered the baseball well Friday in their summer home opener with 10-0 and 6-4 victories over the Okmulgee County Twins at Longhorn Field.
The Cardinals had 11 hits, including four home runs and a double in the opener that ended by run-rule in the fifth. In the second game, they had seven hits, including two doubles and a homer.
In game 1, the Cardinals (4-7) got a strong game at the plate and on the mound from Scott Brinkley (Tushka). He tossed a three-hit shutout on the rubber and had a homer and a double to help lead the way.
After holding the Twins scoreless in the top of the first, Hunter Stephens (Silo) homered to start the Cardinals' first. They took a 3-0 lead into the second and never looked back. The Cardinals added three in the third and four in the fourth to end the game by run-rule after five frames.
Stephens, Brinkley, Chase Crites (Murray State/Caney) and Devin Hartman (Plainview) all hit round-trippers in game 1.
"Hunter really got us jump started in the first inning," Cardinals coach Bubba Tamez said. "When he hit that home run, it was as if the others seemed to lighten up and just wait for the right pitch. We hit the ball well all day long, and especially in that first game when we hit four out.
"I can't say enough about the effort by Scott on the mount. He tossed a shutout against a pretty good Legion team. And he did extremely well at the plate with the homer and double."
In the second game, four pitchers combined to lead the way. Garrett Edwards (Hillsdale College/Ardmore) got the start and gave way to Hunter Evans (Coleman) in the fourth. Gage Goff (Madill) relieved in the sixth, and Stephens pitched the seventh. The Cardinals' hurlers combined to fan seven, walk two and gave up six hits.
The Cardinals again struck early by striking for three in the bottom of the first. Stephens reached on an outfield error, and Andrew Bolin (Silo) singled to center to score his teammate. Crites hammered a 1-1 pitch from Okmulgee pitcher Cory Shefel far beyond the left-field fence for a two-run homer — his second of the day.
The Twins (3-7), took advantage of three Cardinal miscues to score two in the second, but the Cardinals got one back in the third. Crites doubled to the wall in left and scored on an Okmulgee error to make it a 4-2 game.
Okmulgee tied the game with two in the top of the fourth, but from that point, the Twins were unable to touch the Cardinal pitching staff again.
Brinkley led off the sixth by reaching on an Okmulgee infield error, and Donovan Kuykendall (Ardmore) reached on another Twins miscue that put runners at second and third with no outs. Lucas Hamilton (Coleman) singled to left to score Brinkley and took second on a fielder's choice.
A single to right by Madill's Gage Goff scored Hamilton for a 6-4 Cardinal lead.
Stephens fanned two and worked a scoreless seventh for the save. Goff got the win in relief for the Cardinals, and Shefel took the loss for the Twins.
"We issued the men a challenge before the game, and they answered that challenge with two big wins," Tamez said. "We came in here 2-7, and an average team would have gotten down on themselves. But not these players. We have state champions, junior college champions and All-Staters on this squad. They are not going to get down on this team.
"We were a little down last week because we were short handed, and we weren't hitting the ball well. Today, we had everyone back. When we have everyone here, we're a pretty solid team."