MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

May 13, 2014

Vian downs Kingston, books trip to state tourney

HEAVENER – The Vian Wolverines began the season with high expectations of making a second straight trip to the state tournament.

Those expectations came true as the Wolverines, who lost last year to Verdigris in the state championship game, beat Kingston 11-3 on Monday to capture their second straight Class 3A regional championship.

“We graduated six starters from last year and five of those were four-year starters,” said Vian coach John Brockman. “We started a bunch of juniors this year and some of those hadn’t been in the fire very much. It was their turn and they stepped up and did a great job all year.”

Vian, 31-6 and No. 6 in the final OSSAA poll, won the regional the hard way, needing to beat No. 9 Kingston twice to win the title, which they did 7-3 on Saturday to force the if necessary game on Monday.

Vian was put in the loser’s bracket by Kingston courtesy of a 5-2 win over the Wolverines in the second game of the regional.

 “Honestly, it was a scary thought having to beat them twice,” Jon Andrews said.

The Wolverines also had to endure two delays which forced the game to Monday, one during the Heavener game and the other when that delayed the conclusion of the game for one day.

“Being down and coming back is amazing,” Denver Coffee said. “I think God helped us out with the delays. The second day when we started Heavener, we weren’t really ready for it.”

The Wolverines wasted little time in taking control of the contest, jumping out to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first on an RBI single by Jon Andrews, scoring Coffee who had walked and moved to second on a walk to Rylee Simon. Run two of the inning was provided by Josh Bolin’s sacrifice fly that scored Simon.

After the Wolverines added single runs in the second and third, Kingston (23-8) pushed across a run in the fifth to make the score 4-1. Vian responded with three runs in the sixth, the big blast being a two-run home run by Andrews, his fifth home run of the year, to push the Wolverines’ advantage to 7-1.

“We just went out there and played our game and didn’t let them do much to us,” Andrews said. “Once the game got started and we started scoring some runs, I wasn’t worried at all.”

Kingston would add another run to its total in the bottom of the sixth to make the its deficit 7-2. That’s when the Wolverines put the game away with four runs in the seventh. Josh Cowart began the scoring in the inning with a solo home run, his third of the year, and later in the inning, Simon belted a three-run shot, his third home run in 2014.

A.J. Rodriguez got the start on the mound and improved to 7-2 on the year while striking out six Kingston batters.

“Last year, I didn’t do a whole lot for the team,” Rodriguez said. “Last year we had a great group of guys to lead us. To go back this year with a lot of younger guys that didn’t play much feels really good.”

The Wolverines won’t find out who and when they will play in their first game at state until the OSSAA releases the 3A bracket at 9 a.m. today.

“To lose all those starters from last year and for these guys to play the way they played, I’m very happen with them,” Brockman said.

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