It has taken two seasons for public address announcers around the area to get it right.
The task at hand is the correct pronunciation of Oktaha’s Darius Bartosovsky’s last name and he still finds it amusing when someone struggles with it.
“I chuckle all the time at it,” Bartosovsky. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Pronounced BART-oh-SOF-skee, the Tigers’ pitcher has been making a name for himself on the mound. He started the 2012 season as the Tigers’ No. 5 starter but, thanks in large part to his mastery of a new pitch – a slider – has become a pitcher that coach Michael Adair has leaned on during Oktaha’s run to the state tournament which begins 6:30 p.m. Thursday against Wister at Dolese Park in Oklahoma City.
“Darius has worked his way up all year,” said Oktaha coach Michael Adair. “We had some guys that were hurt and some guys that were ineligible and he had to become a No. 2 starter. I taught him the slider and that has become his bread and butter to get guys out.”
Adair leaned on him heavily when Oktaha played Latta, No. 3 in the Okrankings.com Class 2A poll, last Friday in the Class 2A regional championship round. All Bartosovsky did was scatter three hits and two runs in six innings of work as the Tigers beat the Panthers 4-2 to win the regional.
“It took about half the season to where I was comfortable with the slider,” Bartosovsky said. “It was a lot of hard work and effort with the coach.”
Besides his prowess on the mound, Bartosovsky improved at the plate. A .250 hitter in 2011, Bartosovsky has improved to almost .400 in 2012 and is the No. 3 batter in the order.
The fruits of his labor came to the forefront on the first day of the regional. Against Warner, who had beaten the Tigers in Oktaha 6-1 three weeks earlier, it was Bartosovsky that got things going, driving in Daniel Hayes with the first of Oktaha’s five runs in a 5-0 win. In the first meeting against Latta later that day, Bartosovsky again drove in Hayes with the first 10 unanswered runs for the Tigers in a 10-4 win.
“I had to change my whole approach at the plate,” Bartosovsky said. “Coach told me to be a more aggressive hitter and not so defensive. Even with two strikes, try to take the ball the other way.”
Adair is quick to point out that the hard work that Bartosovsky has put in to improve himself is one of the qualities that makes him a leader in the clubhouse.
“Every one sees how hard he works and it rubs off,” he said. “The younger guys would look up to him anyway because he’s a senior. Watching him put in the effort to get better is leading by example and that speaks volumes.”
One of six seniors on this year’s squad, Bartosovsky is glad to still be playing. Last year at this time he was planning his summer vacation with the rest of his Oktaha teammates, having been eliminated in the regional for only the second time in seven seasons.
“To be a senior and going to state, that’s what it’s all about,” Bartosovsky said. “It’s been a few days since we won the regional but it still feels good.”
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