Summer baseball began with little fanfare. With school still going on, and spring football closing down, baseball was regulated as an afterthought.

But now that the summer has arrived, so has baseball.

One of the changes that has occurred this year is that Moore High moved its AAA squad from the Pure Prairie League over to the American Legion. It’s the first time MHS has had a legion team in eight years, when it became a PPL founding team.

According to the Lions AAA coach, Ron Spitler, the reasons for the move have to do with competition.

“This year we thought with an older bunch it would be better to go to the American Legion,” Spitler said. “We will play teams that are same age.”

Westmoore has taken the same route, also. It’s AAA Black squad and AAA Red will be playing in the American Legion instead of a PPL schedule.

“They have the areas best players,” Jags AAA Black coach Shawn Brooks said. “It is good for the kids and competition.”

However, AAA Red coach Steven Peeler said it also has to do with the schedule itself.

“You play double headers every game night,” Peeler said. “It gives you a couple days break. You get some days off. That is the only difference.”

Peeler said those days off can make quite a difference.

“It gives them an opportunity to want to be on the field instead of having to be out there,” Peeler said, whose Red team will be in the North Division. “Not as overwhelming.”

MHS and the Jaguars both still have teams in the PPL ninth grade South and JV South divisions.

Despite the change of leagues for the AAA teams, the goals still remain the same. Winning is still important, but preparing the players for the upcoming season is paramount.

“The biggest thing is we graduated a lot of seniors,” Brooks said. “So trying to get experience for most of them is key. We have about three to five that have seen varsity experience. I have 14 guys on the team. There is a lot of playing opportunity for the guys. There are about nine-10 guys that will get work on the mound.”

Spitler agrees with his cross-town counterpart.

“With the bunch we have, the goal is to get enough game time and have them ready for {next season},” Spitler said.

The Lions are not as depleted of experience as Westmoore. Their summer lineup includes Billy Balek, Romus Cezar, Chris Brown, Brandon Culp and Adam Engler.

Moore came into this week with a 2-2 record, despite having games against Norman North canceled last week. They will take on Midwest City Thursday before competing in the Moore Majors Tournament this weekend at MHS.

Westmoore Black host Pauls Valley Thursday while Westmoore Red (1-3) travel to Enid today. Both are doubleheaders.

“I want everybody to get an opportunity to play and see where they stand at the varsity level,” Peeler said. “A lot of kids that I have are coming from the JV level. It’s an opportunity for them to prove themselves.”

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