By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
This 26th Muskogee Slug-Out softball tournament is split not only into two pools, but two counties.
That’s because the home site of Rougherettes Park was a pool heading into Thursday’s scheduled start.
Because of that, the pool involving Tahlequah, Red Oak, Muldrow, Stilwell and Union will move to Tahlequah High’s diamond for games starting at 10 a.m. Muskogee High will host the other pool with games also starting at 10 a.m. Poteau, Sequoyah, Jenks, Westmoore and Muskogee make up that group.
In recent years when the venue had to be split, Muskogee has used Bacone College’s field, But that one is designed for fastpitch. With Tahlequah in the opposite bracket, and being the victim of the rains, MHS coach Keith Coleman let Matt Cloud and his squad stay at home.
All games on Saturday — those wrapping up pool play and ending with the championship game at 6:30 p.m. — will be at Rougherettes Park. And, it’s quite possible one of the two “co-hosts” will be in that contest. Coleman’s squad has been in that game the last four seasons, losing to Tahlequah in 2009 and 2011, Union in 2010 and Westmoore in 2012.
But then, perhaps not. The field is one of the most competitive among tournaments on this side of the state. Westmoore heads east with the No. 2 ranking in Class 6A. Tahlequah, Union, Muskogee and Jenks are 4-7, Poteau is 10th and Stilwell is 14th. Sequoyah, the defending 5A champions, is ranked sixth in that classification and Red Oak is the top-ranked team in Class A.
“We’re missing Moore but it’s still I think the most competitive tournament on the east side of the state,” Coleman said. “Used to all the good teams from the west and all the good teams of the east would go to each other’s tournaments but what’s changed all that is when the OSSAA changed games and tournament rules.”
There’s also a limit of missed school days with the rules passed late last spring.
“We played during spring break this year in a tournament at Bethel because we could play and not lose any school days,” Coleman said.
This is the second of three quality events for both Muskogee and Tahlequah. Last week both went to Moore. Next week, they along with Red Oak, Jenks, Union and Poteau join Moore and Southmoore for the Festival of Champions, also at Rougherettes Park.
The schedule for today:
At Muskogee HS: Poteau vs. Sequoyah, 10 a.m.; Poteau vs. Jenks, 11:15 a.m.; Sequoyah vs. Westmoore, 12:30 p.m.; Poteau vs. Muskogee, 1:45 p.m.; Poteau vs. Westmoore, 3 p.m.; Jenks vs. Westmoore, 4:15 p.m.; Muskogee vs. Jenks, 5:30 p.m.; Muskogee vs. Sequoyah, 6:45 p.m.
At Tahlequah HS: Red Oak vs. Muldrow, 10 a.m.; Stilwell vs. Muldrow, 11:15 a.m.; Stilwell vs. Red Oak, 12:30 p.m.; Tahlequah vs. Red Oak, 1:45 p.m.; Tahlequah vs. Stilwell, 3 p.m.; Union vs. Muldrow, 4:15 p.m.; Tahlequah vs. Muldrow, 5:30 p.m.; Union vs. Stilwell, 6:45 p.m.