EDMOND – Vian did it the hard way – again.
Dan Weer’s single to left with no outs scored Rylee Simon with the winning run, sending the Wolverines to a dramatic 8-7 Class 3A semifinal victory against the Marlow Outlaws at Edmond Santa Fe High School’s diamond on Friday.
Rylee Simon, who was hitless in three previous at-bats, shot a 1-2 delivery by Coffman over centerfielder Kelby Richardson’s head to the wall to lead off the seventh. That left it to Weer, who followed coach John Brockman’s orders.
“I just wanted to find a way to get on base then maybe someone behind me would lay down a bunt to get Rylee to third,” Weer said. “But coach told us all day not to take a fastball and that’s what I got, so I got on it.”
Brockman had some stern words for Weer in a previous at bat – a strikeout in the third – but said he never considered ordering a bunt from his clean-up hitter.
“He’s a senior, I wanted to give him a chance to swing the bat,” Brockman said.
Marlow, ranked third, ends its season at 32-5 while the No. 2 Wolverines (34-2), winners of 18 consecutive games, will face No. 1 and two-time champion Verdigris (31-2) for the championship, again at Santa Fe. Verdigris notched its 15th straight win as it erased a 3-1 Spiro lead in the other semifinal with a seven-run fifth and won 10-3. The Cardinals’ current reign began in 2011 with a win against Eufaula in the title game.
Early on, it was Simon’s older brother, Rowdy, who got Vian off to another blazing start, a three-run double to almost the same spot his brother went to, making it a 5-0 contest in the first inning. Prior to that, Rylee Simon’s sacrifice fly scored Morris and Jon Andrews singled in Weer.
Vian hung a six-spot in the first in Thursday’s quarterfinal then hung on to beat Stroud 9-6.
“I don’t know why we have to do things the hard way,” Weer said.
Fielding miscues were the culprit in this one.
The Outlaws took advantage of two Vian errors in the second – a mishandled grounder by second baseman Denver Coffee and a throwing error at third by Rylee Simon, the latter scoring runners from second and third.
In the fourth, after Richardson tripled with one out and scored on Seth Scarborough’s double against Vian pitcher Shawn Troutman, Trey Coffman reached on a grounder that went through first baseman Jon Andrews’ legs. Coffman would be forced out at second but Tyler Brite, hitting behind him, wound up at third when on an attempted steal, Weer’s pickoff throw from behind the plate sailed into center field. Warren Zachary appeared to have come up with the ball but somehow turned loose on the throw, the ball sailing backward. By the time he retrieved it, Brite had scored the third run of the inning, tying the game at 6.
“It was a very uncharacteristic game for us,” Brockman said about the defensive play. “We’re in a state tournament, it’s a high-pressure game. I’m not saying that’s it, I mean, they hit the ball hard and we didn’t make plays. But all year we’ve found a way to win and that’s all it’s about now.”
Coffee singled in a run in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead, only to see it tied again on a single by Scarborough in the sixth. Troutman (12-0) had retired the first two batters on strikes, only to follow that with two hits and a walk.
“It was frustrating at times because my guys have played hard behind me all year and come up big,” Troutman said. “I didn’t make some pitches I needed to make either. But we’re moving on.”
Troutman gave up eight hits, all to three of the top four batters in the Outlaws’ lineup. Richardson and Scarborough were both 3-for-4 in the 1-2 slots and Brite, hitting cleanup, was 2-for-3. No other Outlaw had a hit. Troutman struck out three and walked two.
Vian had seven hits, Coffee (2-for-2 and a walk) the only Wolverine with more than one. They only got three off Coffman after the first inning.
EDMOND – Vian did it the hard way – again.
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