By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Landon Decker took one for the team, but it wasn’t enough.
The Vian graduate was 0-for-2 with two groundouts but was hit by a pitch and represented the winning run in the seventh. The East bats couldn’t bring him home and the West wound up a 3-1 winner in the Oklahoma Coaches Association Large School All-State baseball game at J.L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
“Almost, you could say,” he said about the plunk. “But I had a great time. I hadn’t seen a lot of live pitching and I felt it. But this was a great experience going against a high level of competition. Definitely an honor.”
Decker started at shortstop and threw out a runner at the plate and had another nice putout at first.
It’s been a high school career full of honors for Decker, who was a state champion wrestler his junior year and helped Vian to the quarterfinals and semifinals in football before reaching the finals this season in baseball.
Verdigris beat Vian 7-1 in the title game, but to Decker, it’s his highlight of it all.
“The guys on that team were a great group and some of my best friends I’ll have,” the Connors State-bound Decker said.
Three-time All-Phoenix MVP Bristen Graves enjoyed her week, capped by a 3-0 loss to the West in the Small School match.
She got to bond with a future teammate at Northeastern A&M — Catoosa’s Haiden White — and played against another — Gabby Ramirez from Elgin.
Ramirez was on the winning side of this battle, 25-18, 25-22, 25-19.
“Just being chosen to represent the east was such an honor,” Graves said.
The West’s Lauren Winslow of Christian Heritage was MVP. In the Large School match, MVP Clair Kelley of Tulsa Kelley led the East to a 2-1 win (25-20, 19-25, 25-22).
Mylie Leatherman won’t put on any pads or pick up a ball, but she’ll be tending to those who do this week.
Leatherman, a Muskogee High grad, is among the East trainers this week.
Fort Gibson’s Brooke Palmer and Muskogee’s Kelsey McClure will compete with the Large School East team in basketball at ORU’s Mabee Center. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m.
At Bixby High School, Muskogee’s Nigel Harris and Joe Andrews will go at it alongside the rest of the Large East wrestlers. Matches begin at 7 p.m.