More than a Game: Mackie collects gamewinning hit following grandfather’s funeral
Last week, the Okeene Junior High baseball team split in a pair of games with Cherokee and Lomega. While the Whippets dropped their Tuesdaynight matchup with the Raiders, Monday’s victory over Cherokee came in walk-off fashion thanks to the heroics of Hunter Mackie.
On Monday morning, Mackie’s teammates were in school and looking forward to their game against the Cherokee Chiefs. Unfortunately, the seventh-grader was with his family at the Fay School Auditorium for the funeral services of his grandfather, Donnie Spangler, who passed on Thursday, March 5 at the age of 79.
Needless to say, Monday was not an easy day for Mackie, but that didn’t stop him from competing in Okeene’s game that night. After striking out and walking in his first two at-bats, Mackie stepped up in the fourth inning with the Whippets up 6-2 and looking to pad their lead.
With two outs, Mackie cracked a single up the middle to score both William Karbs and Reiley Luckie. That extended the lead to six runs, but in the top of the fifth, Cherokee rallied for seven of their own to take the advantage.
Heading into the bottom of the final inning, the Whippets put together a rally of their own, and with two outs, the Chiefs walked Kaleb Outhier to load the bases. Once again, Mackie stepped to the plate.
After he worked the count full, Okeene was down to their last strike and still down a run. On the next pitch, Mackie connected on shot just over the shortstop’s head. Not only did Brody Jinkens score from third to tie the game, but Bry-er Roberts also came in from second for the 11-10 walk-off victory.
It was Mackie’s second two-out single to drive in a pair of runs in the contest, and his teammates swarmed him in celebration as he jogged off the field after the game-winning hit. On a day that started as one of the worst for Mackie and his family, Hunter ended the night as the hero for the junior high baseball team.
Mackie finished the game going 2-3 with two singles and four runs driven in. Bryer Roberts also went 1-3, driving in a run and scoring three more, while striking out eight batters in four innings on the mound.
On Tuesday, Okeene dropped their contest against Lomega, who scored 18 runs in the third inning to defeat the Whippets 18-7. Karbs went 1-2 with a three-run triple, while Luckie and Outhier each added singles and scored a run as well.
On the mound, Jinkens struck out three in just over two innings while Mackie stuck out a batter as well.
Next up, the junior high boys will travel to Garber on Thursday, April 2, for a contest with the Wolverines at 4:30 p.m.