VIAN – Coach John Brockman and his senior-heavy Wolverines’ club is coming off a 33-7 season where they were just a win away from a shot at a state championship before falling to Verdigris. Vian should be right back in the mix to compete for a title with eight starters back.
Although the Wolverines lose their ace on the hill in Jon Andrews, who compiled a 24-4 record on the mound over the past two seasons and signed to play at Coffeyville, A.J. Rodriguez will be in there to get tough wins.
“A.J. struggled early on the hill last season,” said Brockman. “But he is our ace and when he gets it going, he’s tough out there.”
Denver Coffee, and Eric Cartmill return in the middle infield. Coffee set school records a season ago in total hits and doubles. Third baseman Riley Simon was limited due to injuries a season ago and should be back to 100 percent.
Josh Cowart is back in the outfield and catcher Colan Cole returns behind the plate.
“They all have different things they do well for us as a team,” said Brockman. “ “We have the talent.”
Brockman and the Wolverines host a summer league and several of his players are on a traveling tournament team called the War Ducks. Brockman hopes to get 15-20 games in before giving his players July off.
CHECOTAH – Coach Tom Butler and the Wildcats are hard at it this summer coming off a Class 4A semifinal loss to Dewey. Checotah finished last season at 29-9 and return seven players with significant experience.
Gone is All-Phoenix team MVP Caleb Knight, but Butler has plenty of confidence in his now full-time catcher, Hunter Collins, and the rest of the Cats on the diamond.
“Hunter will step right in and be a good leader for us,” said Butler. “When he came in last year, we didn’t skip a beat.”
Butler gets back 16 of 29 wins on the mound, 10 of which were from ace Jack Christian who is going into his senior campaign.
Andrew Sands hit .480 at the plate a season ago and brings a 6-1 record with him back to the mound.
Butler is also looking to sophomore Kris Elerick to have a breakout season.
“He is really developing and has some great speed,” said Butler. “He was one the best freshmen in the state a year ago.”
The Wildcats are participating in the Southeast Oklahoma High School summer league where they are scheduled to play nine doubleheaders. There is also a post-season tournament June 26-28 with times and sites to be announced. Currently, the Wildcats sit at 0-1 and have been rained out several times.
“This is really just to get some guys some mound experience,” said Butler. “They just need to get some innings out there.”
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