SOUTH COFFEYVILLE — With an 11th consecutive victory in the Saturday night finals of the Oklahoma Union Baseball Tournament, the Pawhuska High School Huskies team captured its second tourney championship in eight days.
A three-hit shutout by senior Tyler Culver clinched the crown for the 3A Huskies in a 9-0 decision against the Caney Valley Trojans. Culver whiffed 14 Trojan batters in the six-inning run-rule triumph and also collected a pair of singles, stole two bases and scored a run in the eight-hit Pawhuska attack.
The Huskies put three on the board in the top of the first off singles by Zalin Edwards, Culver, Kylar Moody and Connor McNeil. A pair of Caney Valley batters walked in the bottom of the inning, but PHS shortstop Taylor Priest keyed a double play that ended the threat.
After that, Culver clamped down on the Trojan hitters by striking out the side in the second, third and fifth innings. At one point, the PHS righthander fanned seven in a row.
Nate Berwaldt picked up Caney Valley’s first hit in the fourth inning. The Trojans loaded the bases in the sixth on singles by Jordan Smith and Caleb Pease around a walk to Tristen Gagan before Culver struck out the final two batters to end the game.
Edwards, the standout senior catcher of the Huskies, had a pair of hits that included a two-run triple in the second. He and Moody both scored twice and Priest knocked in a pair of PHS runs. Hayden Javellas singled and stole three bases for Pawhuska.
Caney Valley is now 12-7 on the season and holds the No. 15 state ranking in Class 2A. Pawhuska remains unranked in Class 3A with an 11-5 mark. With its earlier defeat of Oklahoma Union, the Huskies also knocked of 2A’s No. 19-ranked squad.
Against the OKU Cougars, Pawhuska scored three runs to start off the contest — only to watch the tournament hosts take the lead by plating four runs in the bottom of the first. A two-run single by Culver followed by a monstrous triple by Bryce Wilson allowed the Huskies to score five times and regain the advantage with in the top half of the second.
Oklahoma Union answered back, however, with a three-run rally that got the hosts back within one, at 8-7. The third frame ended with Pawhuska having increased its lead to 10-8. The runs that provided the cushion of victory then came home on a two-out, two-run single by Edwards in the fourth — which wound up being the final inning due to time-limit restrictions.
In their last at-bats, the Cougars loaded the bases and managed to close the gap to 12-10 with just one out. It became a one-run contest after the second out was recorded on a sacrifice fly to left field. A high throw to the plate from the Huskie outfield enticed the Oklahoma Union runner at third into making an attempt to score the tying run — but he was tagged out at home by the rapidly-reacting Edwards.
PHS has won all its games since returning from barnstorming spring break road trip to Alabama in which they played exhibition contests against squads from the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. The Huskies were slated for a Monday game at Skiatook.