With the score knotted at 2-2 in the top of the fourth-inning, nine-hole hitter Rylan Vanlandingham stepped up to the plate against Jenks.
The Yukon junior baseball player had a runner on second and third as he stepped into the home plate circle at Hinch Field. Before he stepped into the box, he took a look down the third base line at his head coach Kevin James to get the signal.
James looked at him and gave him the green light and said to him “go get one”.
That’s exactly what Vanlandingham did, as he drilled a fast ball over the left field wall that put the Millers up for good over the Trojans, as Yukon would go on to beat Jenks 8-4 and advance to the Tiger-Trojan Classic championship game, which is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Broken Arrow High School.
As soon as the ball left Vanlandingham’s bat, it was a no-brainer, that ball was not landing in play.
“I was just able to turn on an inside fast ball,” Vanlandingham said. “I thought we really swung the bats well tonight. We have played well so far this tournament.”
The other bright spot of the game came from sophomore relief pitcher BJ Lee, who came in for relief of Dalton Debaud in the bottom of the second inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. Jenks had already scored a run in the inning and looked poised to score many more, but Lee forced the Trojans into a double-play (which scored a run for Jenks) and then got the next batter out to stop the bleeding at two runs.
Yukon didn’t trail long, as they responded in the top of third-inning with two runs of their own on four Jenks walks and two sacrifice flies.
Lee got the win on the mound for the Millers, while Payton Miller was the other end of the battery for the entire game behind the plate at catcher.
“It felt good to come in and help my team get the win,” Lee said. “I thank God for the opportunity. Our defense was really good all night.”
The three other runs scored by Yukon in the game were on two RBI singles and another sacrifice fly.
The victory over Jenks improved the Millers’ record to 4-0 in the tournament. Yukon defeated Bixby and Broken Arrow on Thursday at Broken Arrow and in their earlier game of the day on Friday, YHS took down Deer Creek 7-0.
“We have played more consistent in this tournament,” James said. “That’s what we are looking for, is more consistency, we don’t care who we are playing right now. Our pitching has been very good for us and we have executed well on offense.”
Yukon finished the game with seven total hits and had no errors on defense. The Millers walked three Jenks batters on the night.
Jenks had nine hits and made one error. The Trojans walked 11 total batters in the game.