Cowboys bounce Ontario Tigers from postseason play

Josh Navarrete swings hard during a game against Crook County May 18 at Ontario High School. The Cowboys put a blockade on Ontario’s office on the way to a 3-0 win. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

ONTARIO – Crook County’s Kyle Knudtson held Ontario to just three hits and the Cowboys managed to plate two runners in the seventh inning to post a 3-0 win Friday night in a Class 4A state play-in game.

The Cowboy win ends the season for the Tigers.

Ontario played a solid defensive game but couldn’t contain the Cowboy bats at crucial times during the contest.

But the home team was never out of it until the final stanza.

“We pitched well enough to win. We made some great plays defensively. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said Chad Hartley, Ontario baseball coach.

Jake Hartley finished the game for the Tigers with two hits and Adam Hawker added another but the Cowboys went ahead 1-0 in the fifth inning and never trailed.

The Cowboys finished the game with eight hits.

“We have struggled to put the ball in play against playoff- quality pitchers all year,” said Hartley.

The Tigers had some momentum going into the Friday matchup – after winning four of their last five – but stalled against the Cowboys.

In March, Ontario defeated Crook County 3-1 in a non-league game.

Knudtson, said Hartley, was the game changer for Crook County.

“He threw a great game,” said Hartley.

The Tigers finished the season with a 7-5 league mark and 14-11 overall.

Hartley said his team battled hard all year.

“Our losses were to playoff-quality teams. I want to thank our senior leadership for working hard, playing the game the right way and for setting the example for the younger players,” said Hartley.

Hartley said his players had nothing to hang their heads about.

“I’m very proud of all the young men and the coaches in this program. It is an honor to work with such amazing people,” said Hartley.

The Tiger squad will bid farewell to four seniors: Mike Mejia, Adam Hawker, Shilo Palmer and Noah Navarrete.