Monday, April 11, 2011

Baseball LCT was a good one

The 2011 edition of the baseball LeFlore County Tournament ended approximately at 4 p.m. Saturday.

This is one of my favorite events of the season, even though temperatures this past week went from freezing to hot.

Spiro capped off the week with a 4-1 victory over defending champion Wister in the finals behind a gutsy pitching performance by junior Joe T. Ross and some timely hitting.

As Spiro coach Paul Croft said after the win, “Baseball can be a funny game.”

How else can one describe the events over the tournament?

On Friday, Wister pounded Spiro 10-0 and most people probably expected a repeat performance in the championship game.

But it was a different Spiro team on Saturday. The Bulldogs looked nothing like the team that got blown out on Saturday.

You could tell by their enthusiasm level even before the game started. On Friday, the Bulldogs were just there and appeared to be intimidated by Wister.

If there was any intimidation, it disappeared overnight. Facing a team which had dominated county baseball for the last year, Spiro jumped ahead and most of Wister’s hard hits found a defender in the right spot.

True, the Bulldogs did get a little benefit as the wind was blowing in and two Wister hits which might have been a home run the night before, turned into long outs.

But Spiro earned this win behind its junior pitcher, who along with Whitesboro’s Dexter Morgan, showed that indeed, good pitching does beat good hitting.

You also can’t blame the Wildcats if they were a little worn out after winning four straight over the previous two days to force a second championship game. Yes, they are a bunch of teenagers, but the loss to Whitesboro on Wednesday forced Wister to win three times in less than 24 hours to just get into the first championship game.

This was definitely a tournament to remember.

And, it should get better next year. Spiro only loses two seniors. Wister will be missing three seniors, but returns all its pitching. Poteau has most of its players back and Pocola and Cameron will both be better.

So…how can the tournament get better? One idea some of the coaches have discussed is having the last two or three days played at Carl Albert. That would be an excellent idea and hopefully this can be implemented.

Some schools will be against that, but always having the most important games at a central location will increase the size of the crowds, as was evidenced during the games at Wister.

There were good crowds all week, much bigger than the ones that attended the games the previous year at Talihina.

Arkoma is scheduled to be the host next year. Hopefully Arkoma will give this a try, at least for one year. The field at CASC is great and would give the tournament an even bigger atmosphere.

And now, the attention turns to the girls slowpitch LCT, starting Monday at the PARC in Poteau.

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