For the second year in a row, the Pawhuska High School Huskies baseball team will serve as host for its upcoming Oklahoma Class 3A district series.
PHS head coach Brian Edwards said the Huskies were notified last Friday that they are to be facing the Adair Warriors in the best-of-three district matchup, which will be played next Thursday (May 1) on the PHS diamond.
The opening game of the district series is set to start at 3 p.m. with a second expected to begin at around 5 p.m. If a third contest is needed to determine the district champion, it would be played at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 2.
“We’re glad we will again be a host,” said Edwards.
A year ago, the Huskies needed the third game — which, because of rainy weather, took four extra days to get played — before claiming the district title by defeating the Lincoln Christian Bulldogs.
This season’s PHS squad had a 12-game winning streak snapped Friday with a heart-wrenching loss, 1-0, to the homestanding Oklahoma Union Cougars. A week earlier, the Huskies had handed the Cougars (who are the No. 19-ranked school in Class 2A) a 13-12 defeat en route to winning the championship in the Oklahoma Union Tournament.
Pawhuska had to cancel a pair of recent contests. Last Thursday, highly-anticipated game against Class 4A’s second-ranked Dewey Bulldoggers (who are 23-3) was unable to be played because no umpires could be found to officiate the matchup.
A PHS game at Shidler had to be scrapped due to rain shortly after it started Monday. The Tigers are the No. 17-ranked team in Oklahoma Class B and hold an impressive 18-1 record. The lone setback for the Osage County squad came May 5 via a 5-0 loss to the Huskies in the finals of the Pawhuska tournament.
Last Friday, with classes out and the weather ideal, the Huskies travelled to South Coffeyville and participated in a five-team baseball festival hosted by Oklahoma Union High School. Other squads included Coffeyville (Kan.) Field Kindley and Oklahoma’s No. 1-ranked 3A team, the Verdigris Cardinals.
Pawhuska defeated Wyandotte, 14-2, in the morning opener. Sophomore lefthander Chandler Collins picked up the pitching win for PHS, with solid relief from senior Connor McNeil to close out the victory — which was the Huskies’ 12th in a row. The locals rapped out nine hits, highlighted by booming back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning by Tyler Culver and Zalin Edwards.
The second game turned out to be the top battle of the day as the 2A Oklahoma Union squad ended the PHS win streak by scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth inning and holding on for a 1-0 win.
Cougar pitcher Kolton Stacy outdueled Culver, who was strapped with the loss despite hurling a one-hitter. Two were out in the sixth when Oklahoma Union’s Kannon McCune slid across the plate with the game’s only run.
Problems started for the Huskies when the home team leadoff batter reached on an infield error.
With one out, McCune was hit by a pitch and he advanced to second when the lead baserunner was thrown out attempting to steal third. Culver was one pitch from recording an inning-ending strikeout when a second-strike fastball skipped over the catcher’s glove and to the backstop, allowing the run to score.
The only base hit off Culver a one-out single in the fourth, an inning that started with Pawhuska centerfielder Bryce Wilson robbing the Cougar’s of a hit when he dashed to his right and made a sliding catch of a sinking line drive.
Four Pawhuska runners were gunned down at the plate in the contest as catcher Lanning tagged out Huskies in first, third (twice, once on a force play) and fifth innings. The Huskies had three hits including a first-inning triple by Culver, whose courtesy runner was promptly erased when he attempted to score on a wild pitch.