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Oklahoma baseball notebook: Victory Christian rolling in Class 3A; Fort Gibson dominates its district; Sapulpa surges in 5A

News and notes from around Oklahoma prep baseball

By Buck Ringgold

Though Victory Christian reached the state tournament last season, the Conquerors at times showed inconsistent tendencies on offense. 

In 2022, the Conquerors' bats are coming through, giving them a good chance to return to the 3A state tournament and perhaps win it all.

Victory Christian finished undefeated in District 3A-7 play with a two-game series sweep against Spiro earlier in the week. On Monday, the Conquerors traveled to Spiro and posted a 6-0 win; then on Tuesday, Victory returned home and got the sweep, winning 13-3.

The Conquerors (27-4, 14-0) have now won 17 of their last 20 games following Tuesday's win. In 13 of those 17 wins, they scored 10 or more runs.

"Our defense got us to the state tournament last year, kind of in spite of our offense," Victory coach Austin Jarvis said. "Then this year, our offense has been really good. One through nine, I think we're tough outs all the way through and we've been able to do a lot of situational stuff.

"We can bunt a little bit if we have to, we can run the bases, we've got some speed. Then just hitting in general; we've been squaring balls up really well, so I think offense has been the biggest turnaround from last year."

The Conquerors also have just one senior on the roster, Kyle Roberts, who primarily plays shortstop and is the team's lead-off batter. In Monday's opener, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored; then Tuesday, had another hit and was the winning pitcher, striking out seven in nearly five innings of work.

"A lot of people ask me about my Senior Night, and how it's all going to be about me, but it's really been fun," Roberts said. "I kind of feel like I'm a role model for a lot of these kids and I've gotten a lot closer with them over these past couple of years, and it's just been a lot of fun.

"I really try to be a good teammate and try to teach everybody else how to be a good teammate, and kind of help the team."

In Tuesday's win, the Conquerors also hit three home runs, including a grand slam off the bat of junior Aidan O'Malley that capped a seven-run third as Victory built a 12-0 advantage.

"It's just been the team camaraderie, like we've all came together, we've all been backing one another and we've been hitting well," O'Malley said. "I think because of that, and our pitchers have been doing a great job of filling it up and letting the hitters get themselves out."

One of those pitchers, sophomore Jordan Myers, has been a revelation. He has not lost a start all season, and in Monday's game, Myers tossed a four-hit shutout, striking out 10.

Though his intent that game wasn't to rack up a lot of strikeouts.

"(Monday) I didn't work so much (on) strikeouts," Myers said. "I tried to have them get as much contact as they wanted and get the outs that way, just to make it more easier on me, be more efficient that way with less pitches. But other than that, I feel like I worked the zone really well on all my pitches.

"I tried to start off early with fastballs and then in the count with off-speed, or sometimes even start early in the off-speed and then fastballs."

Victory is also 19-0 against fellow 3A foes. The Conquerors have also won nine of their last 10 ballgames, with the lone loss in that span coming to 6A Edmond Santa Fe.

"I think we're peaking at the right time and we're starting to jell here in the second half of the year, and we've been playing some of our best baseball here in the last couple of weeks," Jarvis said. "We ran up against a tough Edmond Santa Fe team a couple of weeks ago there and didn't help ourselves out there either and they capitalized on our mistakes and kind of got away from us, but other than that, we've been playing really well.

"We've been pitching the ball well, playing good defense, scored a lot of runs so I really like where we're at heading into the postseason."

But like last year, Jarvis remarked defense will really determine whether the Conquerors have a shot to win it all in 3A.

"We brand ourselves and we pride ourselves on defense, so we've got to make sure we continue that," he said. "If we do that and play our brand, I think we'll be right there in the mix and have a chance."

The Conquerors are participating this weekend in the Salina Tournament.

Fort Gibson

Another team that went through district play undefeated are the Tigers.

Fort Gibson capped a perfect 12-0 stretch in 4A-8 action with a sweep against Poteau. On Monday, the Tigers posted a 9-0 win on their home field; then the following day, they traveled to Poteau and came away with an 18-4 triumph.

"We've got everybody back from last year, we were in the semis last year, so it's a pretty easy bunch to coach right now," Fort Gibson coach Gary Edwards said. "They do a pretty good job, they're pretty disciplined and it's just a good group to coach."

Because he returned virtually everyone back, Edwards really didn't have to spend the off-season working on a number of things; instead just fine-tuning some things for his Tigers (19-6, 12-0).

"Other than just little things, there really wasn't a whole lot that we necessarily focused on," he said. "We felt like if we could go through right off the same plan that we did last year, we would be pretty successful, especially with the team returning so many starters."

The Tigers are paced by their pitching staff, led by junior Weston Rouse, an Oklahoma State commit.

In Monday's win, Rouse threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 17. He wasn't too shabby with the bat either on Tuesday, as he went 4-for-5 with three doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Fort Gibson is also getting contributions on the mound from Cole Mahaney and Grant Edwards, who went five innings on Tuesday and struck out nine while allowing just one run.

"I feel really good about our pitching staff, but I think that's always the key," Gary Edwards said. "If they can't score, they can't win, so we really try to base it off our pitching and defense."

Gary Edwards noted the Tigers have had a collective unit when it comes to offense, as any one of his players in the lineup are capable of having a strong game.

In Tuesday's win, lead-off batter Wyatt Pierce was 4-for-6 with an RBI and three runs scored and Grant Edwards, batting second, was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Rouse hit third and the clean-up hitter, Jaxon Blunt, only had one hit but managed to score four times. Brody Rainbolt followed with two hits, driving in two runs.

Monday, Jaiden Graves, the nine-hole hitter, went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

"Collectively as a group, I can't put it on one individual guy," Gary Edwards said. "They all do a good job at the plate and take advantage of pitchers' mistakes. Like I said, it's a pretty easy group to coach."

Perhaps the most notable addition to the Tigers this off-season occurred on the coaching staff. One of Edwards' assistants is Larry Coleman, a longtime coach who had successful stints as head coach at both Sallisaw and Bristow.

"Larry's been doing it for a long time, and obviously any time you can get a great baseball mind like that in your program, it's always very helpful," Edwards said. "Larry's been a great addition to our program this year."

Fort Gibson will have two non-district home games coming up, Saturday against Antlers and Monday, a game against 2A contender Oktaha.


The Chieftains have been on a roll of late, winning eight straight and 14 of their last 15.

Earlier this week, they moved to 12-0 in District 5A-3 with a two-game sweep of McAlester. Monday, Sapulpa (22-8, 12-0) posted a 5-2 win, and on Tuesday, went to McAlester and got a 5-3 triumph.

"Well, the last few weeks, like in football, we have really played complimentary baseball," Sapulpa coach Steve Irvine said. "Our pitching has done a good job of throwing strikes and have gotten out of some tough situations, while the offense has worked to grind through at-bats and get some key hits in big spots.

"Our depth on the mound is probably our best asset; we may not have the (Division I) commit or the top prospect, but we have a lot of guys (10 in total) that can throw it 80-85 miles per hour and compete for us."

One of those key pitchers is senior Kaiden Ashton, who has signed with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. In two outings over the past seven games, Ashton got a win against district foe Shawnee and a save against McAlester, allowing just one run while striking out eight.

In that same seven-game span, Ashton batted .529 with two doubles, a home run and nine RBIs. He also stole five bases and scored 12 times.

Also on offense, Irvine likes the play of Alejandro Diaz, who is hitting .447 with 18 extra-base hits and 39 RBIs, and Malachi Wilson, a sophomore who has hit safety over his last seven games.

There's also the presence of catcher Joe Young, who has a combined 17 assists in caught stealings and pickoff plays.

"We'll be moving into uncharted territory with this group, so staying together and trusting their routines will be key for our players," Irvine said. "We've talked about outside distractions and hoopla already.

"Just keeping our eyes fixed on our ultimate goal will keep us hungry for success in the playoffs."

Sapulpa wraps up district play next week with Bishop Kelley. The Chieftains are at home Monday, and will go to Bishop Kelley on Tuesday.