By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — After a tough regular season, area baseball teams now have their attention squarely focused on the upcoming postseason, which begins Thursday with the double elimination regional tournament.
“We had a good season overall and look forward to putting it all together for the post season,” Westmoore coach Jared Freeman said. “ I feel like we are battle tested heading into the post season and now we just have to go make plays to win games.”
Westmoore is coming off a 4-3 loss Thursday to Norman North in what amounted to a district title game.
North jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, helped by leadoff hitter Luke Jones, who went on to finish 3 for 3 and stole two bases. But Westmoore fought back with a two-home run in the second before threatening more in the fifth inning.
After a walk and two fielding errors, the Jaguars had the bases loaded with two outs. Brad Kinsey hit a batter in the foot to bring in the tying run before giving way to Cranford, who earned a strikeout to escape the jam. That set the stage for Corey Carter’s fifth inning single that brought in DJ Gasso, who had walked and advanced to third on a passed ball and a stolen base.
Despite the defeat, Westmoore will host a regional tourney for the second consecutive year. The Jags play Putnam City at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Lawton and Edmond Santa Fe face-off at 1:30 p.m.
“Nothing is easy this time of year,” Freeman said. “So I am looking for our seniors to raise to the occasion and lead this team to the state tournament. We need to make plays and clutch hitting.”
Moore High has been battling most the season to stay near .500. But a late season swoon has put them well below the mark.
Despite that, the Lions only need to look back to last season when they entered the playoffs as an afterthought. Yet, they wound up winning the Westmoore regional and advancing to the state tournament.
While that team was led by a long list of hungry seniors, Moore has a much younger squad this time around as it faces No. 13 Edmond Memorial at 1 p.m. in the Yukon Regional.
Like it has done most of the year, Southmoore ended the regular season going from one extreme to the other. It followed losses to Westmoore and Edmond Memorial with wins over Moore, Chickasha and Dale to close out their schedule.
“We have been inconsistent in all phases at times,” Southmoore coach Craig Troxell said. “I feel the biggest strength we have is the ability to play defense and our team speed.”
The SaberCats have had to deal with a few injuries down the stretch. That included the team’s top hitter Tre Edwards. The senior spent the weekend in the hospital after taking an 86 mph fastball to his jaw Friday against Chickasha. He also has a bruised right hand from trying to block the ball.
This is the second time Edwards has been laid up. He sat out several games midway through the year with concussion symptoms.
“I get hurt worse in baseball than in football,” Edwards said.
Edwards, who will play baseball at Arkansas next season, said he hopes to be ready by the start of the playoffs. Southmoore will be at Norman North Thursday where they will take on Midwest City at 1 p.m. Troxell was the Bombers head coach before coming to Southmoore.
If Edwards is unable to play, the SaberCats will rely on Nick Ward and Kody Brannon to carry the squad.
“I feel we are ready,” Troxell said. “We just have to go out and play consistent, play our baseball, and believe we can do it. I want to come out with a lot of energy and confidence. If something bad happens, I don’t want our kids to deflate. A lot of bad things happen in baseball and we have to be able to handle it mentally.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org