MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

May 5, 2012

Oktaha caps regional run with win against Latta

— OKTAHA – Oktaha’s Wyatt Yarbrough wanted just one pitch to hit, and he got it.

With the Tigers trailing Latta 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the senior sent a 3-2 fastball over the right field fence for a grand slam home run and all the runs needed as Oktaha downed the Panthers 4-2 to claim the Class 2A regional in Oktaha on Friday.

“I just wanted to be a senior that stepped up,” Yarbrough said. “I saw out No. 3 and 4 guys go down and I just wanted to come through. I was just looking for something that I could get at least one run home.”

That was enough support for Oktaha starter Darius Bartosovsky who kept Latta, No. 4 in the Okrankings.com Class 2A poll, at bay to record the win. Bartosovsky (6-1) surrendered a run in the top of the first on a single by Bryce Harris and an RBI single in the sixth to Jake Collins as the Tigers (18-10) punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 2010.

“Getting on top of the slider was the key,” Bartosovsky said. ”Keeping it down in the zone and keeping it away. That helped me out a lot.”

Yarbrough also earned his keep on the mound as he came on in relief of Bartosovsky in the seventh and gave up a lead-off single before retiring the next three batters to earn his fifth save of the season.

“I just wanted to shut them out,” Yarbrough said. “I just wanted to throw strikes like I did (Thursday).”

Oktaha improved to 18-10 on the year with the win and 9-2 over its last 11 games.

Oktaha coach Michael Adair was like a proud papa when talking about his two seniors’ performances.

“Darius started as our No. 5 starter at the beginning of the year and he has worked his way up tremendously,” he said. “Wyatt has been there for us all year. Every time we needed something out of the No. 5-hole with runners on base, he just seemed to relax, drive the ball the other way and get big hits.”

In his first year at the helm after taking over for Chris Burt, who retired after the 2011 season, Adair has the Tigers still alive for their first spring OSSAA championship to go along with their fall title in 2009.

“Awesome, awesome,” he said. “We preached all year about putting in the time. These guys have invested a lot of time and they got a good return.”

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