On Championship Sunday, Retif Oilers Control Their Own Fate
Oilers Eliminate Bryant Blacksox, 11-6
Facing a four-run deficit, 6-2, after four innings against the Bryant Blacksox on Saturday, the Retif Oilers kept their cool in the 100-plus degree heat at the American Legion Mid-South Regional Tournament in Conway, AR. The Oilers also kept swinging their magical bats, pounding out 11 runs on 20 hits, while shutting down the home team Blacksox in the final five innings.
By eliminating the Blacksox from the tournament, 11-6, only two teams are left standing: the undefeated Oilers (4-0) and the Shockers from Granite, OK (3-1).
All Retif has to do on Sunday at 2 p.m. is beat Oklahoma (again) to earn a trip to the American Legion World Series Tournament in Shelby, NC next week. All the Shockers have to do to get to Shelby is defeat the Oilers, not once, but twice. Given the offensive fireworks, combined with stellar and steady pitching the Oilers have displayed in their first four games, Oklahoma has a formidable task ahead.
While it’s not mission impossible for the Shockers, mission improbable is an apt way to put it. Baseball being baseball, strange things have been known to happen to a team whose players are caught dreaming about the future, especially a team that has beaten its opponent once before, as Retif did on Friday when the Oilers routed the Shockers, 9-2.
Catcher Trent Forshag, who had the day off behind the plate and was Retif’s designated hitter against the Blacksox, said the Oilers are taking it one game at a time. “We’re definitely treating the game tomorrow as no mulligans,” said Forshag, whose four hits yielded three RBIs against Bryant. “We have to win that first game right out of the bat.”
Forshag added that everyone hit very well in Saturday’s game, an understatement of sorts. Ben Hess notched four hits and upped his tournament batting average to a ridiculous .588; Brandon Briuglio and Jake Licciardi each had three hits; Nick Ray, Josh Schmidt, and Harrison Daste each accounted for two hits.
Retif’s Hayden Fuentes relieved starter Todd Crabtree, who pitched three full innings, giving up five hits and all of Bryant’s six runs. Crabtree struck out three and walked one batter. Fuentes pitched six shutout innings, giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out six.
“This is a game where we could have really laid down,” said Coach Joey Latino. “That’s a really good Bryant team that we beat. They got up on us 6-2. I told the boys there’s a lot of baseball left. Hayden Fuentes came in and did an unbelievable job on the mound, pounding the strike zone. We chipped away, chipped away, and got our momentum going and some timely hits from a lot of different players.”
As for Retif facing Oklahoma again on Sunday, Coach Latino observed the Shockers are a talented b unch. “On Sunday both teams are playing for the same thing and that’s a trip to Shelby,” he said. “We’re expecting their best effort and we need to come out here and give our best effort. Overall, this is a very special group of kids. These guys have been playing together for the better part of three years when you count prep and Legion together. They’re very unselfish, they don’t care who gets the credit, and they’re very close. Obviously they play for each other as well as for their school and 1st District American Legion baseball.”
Like so many time before in this summer’s Legion baseball, the Oilers’ fate rests in their own hands.
The N.O. Advocate: Retif takes 11-6 win, moves into American Legion region final