By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — It could have been a devastating defeat. When Westmoore lost to Norman North last week after holding a 3-run lead in the seventh, it could have crumbled them
But according to Westmoore coach Jarod Freeman, it had the opposite affect. The brutal loss steeled the Jaguars to make a postseason run that has now landed the program in the state tournament for the first time in a decade.
“Focus. That was the big thing,” Freeman said. “That was a heartbreaking loss on Tuesday night against Norman North. We’re up 7-4 with 2-outs, nobody on base in the seventh inning. In baseball you lose your focus that little bit, it can beat you. It was a heart breaker, it was frustrating for those guys. But the big thing we wanted out of it was to learn. You had to learn something from it. All of our goals and everything were still in front of us. Even though it was a tough loss against Norman North, and the team understood that.”
The Jags open the state tourney at 4 p.m. Thursday when it faces Broken Arrow in the first round at L. Dale Mitchell Park on the Oklahoma University campus.
“I don’t think our guys are concerned about the history of Broken Arrow,” Freeman said. “Westmoore baseball has a lot of history ourselves. It’s just been a while since we’ve been to the state tournament.”
The last time Westmoore competed at state, Freeman was a senior at the school. But since he took over as skipper, the program has been making strides each year.
“It’s been 10 years,” Freeman said. “That’s what’s crazy. My senior year was the last year Westmoore has gone to the state tournament. So it means a lot for the club and the guys. It just speaks . We have just gotten a little bit closer over the last four years since I’ve been there. We’ve progressively gotten better and developed those younger guys. We finally broke through that and got that little monkey off our backs.”
Westmoore has rode the arm of junior hurler Kyle Tyler to get to state. The Oklahoma commit has an 8-1 record, with his only defeat coming to the Timberwolves earlier in the season.
So despite facing a strong BA squad, Tyler gives his team a chance to make some noise, no matter who they face.
“I like our chances just because we have a good guy on the mound,” Freeman said. “When he’s on the mound. We have a lot of confidence behind him. We are really excited about the matchup. When you go to the state tournament, you’re going to have to beat the Owassos, the Broken Arrows, the Unions and the Jenks. You have to beat those guys if you want to win it anyways. We like our odds and our chances, especially with our No. 1 on the mound.
“We look forward to that challenge. “