The Moore American

March 27, 2013

Strong field Big Cat Classic features top teams from around state

By Michael Kinney
The Moore American

MOORE — Now that Spring Break has concluded, its time for the area slow pitch softball teams to get back to work.

After a couple of warm-up games, Moore, Westmoore and Southmoore will host the Annual Big Cat Classic this weekend. With 10 teams ranked in the top 16, it could be the strongest tournament field outside of the state championships.

“It’s a really great field this season,” Southmoore coach Jason Lingo said. “We pride ourselves on getting some quality softball teams to join us in the tournament and this year is no exception. Union has a tournament that is probably the only other one that is in the same zip code as far as top to bottom quality of teams. So if the BCC isn’t the toughest tournament in the state, it’s tied.”

The tournament field includes 6A powerhouses such as No. 1 Moore, No. 2 Westmoore, No. 4 Union, No. 5 Jenks, No. 6 Muskogee, No. 7 Tahlequah, No. 8 Southmoore, No. 15 Norman, No. 16 Anadarko. But it also has the top teams from other classes such as No. 1 Washington and No. 2 Dale.

“It is ridiculously strong,” Moore coach Michael Wakefield said. “But that is what we want. We want it to test us.”

The Classic kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday with games being played at MHS, WMH and SMH. The tournament will be a round robin format with the 12 teams split up into two pools.

“In the State tournament you have to win three games in a day against the top teams,” Wakefield said. “In this tournament if you want to win it you probably have to do the same.

Southmoore is in the Navy Pool while Moore and Westmoore are both in the Red Pool. Even though they played each other in the regular season Tuesday for the first time this year, the two top teams in 6A will face off again at 9 a.m. Saturday at MHS.

“It gives us a chance to see how we match up against these teams in the state tournament,” Jags coach Steve Schwarz said. “It also gives me a great chance to scout them and try to change things when we play them at state.”

The winners of the Red Pool and Navy Pool will meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Southmoore in the Big Classic Championship. The winner will not be crowned the best in the state, but it goes along way toward it.

“I think it helps a lot,” Lingo said. “This tournament is even tougher than a state tourney, because you add the top teams form 4A and 5A into the mix of all of the top teams in 6A. So you can’t go anyplace else and find this much talent in one tournament. With the quality of teams here at the tournament, you’re going to have to be on you’re a game the entire weekend. And I honestly think you’ll need a little luck. Whomever plays the best ball and has a few breaks go their way will take home the title.”

Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth