VERDIGRIS — By the time the Pawhuska High School baseball season reached its rain-delayed conclusion Saturday,the games had become as unpredictable and subject to change as the weather.
The last hurrah for the Huskies came via their second loss in as many days to the Perkins-Tryon Demons. It was in the losers-bracket final of the Class 3A Regional tournament at Verdigris — except it was not even played in Verdigris. Instead, it was moved to Owasso due to the forces of nature.
Unfortunately, the last-minute relocation failed to help the cause for the locals as PHS fell, 15-3. The Huskies finished with a record of 18-14 on the season, their first under head coach Brian Edwards.
Pawhuska reached the tournament by winning two out of three games in its 3A district matchup with Lincoln Christian. That series, played at Pawhuska, also had been affected by the weather as rain washed the deciding contest back to last Monday before the Huskies won in a 12-2 blowout.
Scheduling woes plagued the Regional, beginning at the state level when PHS was originally made the fourth seed despite having an obviously better record (at 17-12) than initially third-seeded Adair (who entered 14-14) .
Before it was corrected, the tourney slate had the Huskies facing top-seed Verdigris in the opening game. The set-up at Verdigris eventually put Pawhuska in Game Two versus the Perkins-Tryon Demons.
After cold, windy and threatening weather postponed the start of the Regional on Thursday, action got underway an hour late on Friday with the host Cardinals beating Adair in six innings, 15-0.
In the opening round contest between Pawhuska and Perkins, the Huskies battled back from a 3-0 early deficit to tie the Demons at 4-4 after three innings. Perkins, at 20-12 and ranked No. 15, took back the lead with a run in the fourth and Pawhuska went scoreless (and hitless) the remainder of the contest.
The Demons put away the victory by adding four more runs in sixth and seventh on two-out rallies facilitated by blooped hits and Huskie errors. Perkins had jumped to 3-0 lead in top of first inning behind a pair of singles (including one of the bloop variety), three walks and hit batter.
Pawhuska picked up a run in the last half of the first on back-to-back long doubles by Eddie Oyster and Tyler Culver. In the second, The Demons loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit batsmen before reliever Kendall Oller took over on the mound for the Huskies.
Oller pitched out of the second, allowing only one run. The stocky junior got the first out on a pop up. A hard-hit liner then was handled on one hop by PHS leftfielder Bryce Wilson, who threw on the money to home plate. In a bang-bang play, senior catcher Zak Wilson tagged out the advancing Perkins’ baserunner for the second out. A grounder ended the inning
To tie the Demons, the Huskies tallied three times in the bottom of third. Oyster led off with a single, stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Culver. Zak Wilson stole second after being hit by a pitch and was driven home with a two-out single by junior Taylor Priest, who later scored — to tie the game at 4-4 — on dropped fly ball.
The only other hit for Huskies came off the bat of senior Trent Hollister in the second inning, when Pawhuska put on two runners with one out before a pair of popups ended the threat.
Game Three found Verdigris topping Perkins in the winners-bracket final, 11-5.
With a 7-1 triumph late Friday night, the Huskies earned their second opportunity to move past the Demons for a shot at the Regional hosts (technically, at least) — the No. 1-ranked and two-time defending state champion Cardinals of Verdigris.
Pawhuska stayed alive in the tourney behind the power pitching of Culver, the ace junior righthander who picked up his third dominating victory of the postseason. He gave up a double and three scratch hits, while striking out seven and walking three.
Dallas McCarty led the PHS offense by collected two hits. The Huskies produced three runs in both the first and second innings, with Priest, Oyster and Culver also picking up hits. Culver and McCarty both scored twice and Connor McNeil, McCarty and Priest had runs batted in.
Verdigris defeated Perkins, 8-2, in the tourney’s final game. With an unbeaten 3-0 Regional run, the Cardinals improved to 29-2 on the year as they advance to the 3A State Tournament, which begins Thursday.
The No. 15 Demons concluded their season at 22-13. Adair wound up 14-16.
(Regionals, game two)
HUSKIES 7, WARRIORS 1
Adair High: 0-0-0 0-0-1 0 — 1
Pawhuska: 3-3-0 0-1-0 x — 7
Batteries: Adair - Hunter Rosebrough, Taylor Conseen (6) and Alec Brand; Pawhuska - Tyler Culver and Zak Wilson.
Pither summaries: Culver 7 innings, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts, 3 walks.
Game statistics: Errors - Adair 1, Pawhuska 1. Hits - Adair 4, PHS 5. Singles - Dallas McCarty (2), Eddie Oyster, Tyler Culver, Taylor Priest, Zalin Edwards. Double - Alec Brand. Runs scored - McCarty 2, Oyster, Culver, Priest, Hayden Javellas. Runs batted in - Connor McNeil, McCarty, Priest. Stolen bases - Javellas 2. Runners left on base - Adair 5, Pawhuska 5.
(Regionals, game one)
DEMONS 9, HUSKIES 4
Perkins-Tryon: 3-1-0 1-0-1 3 — 9
Pawhuska HS: 1-0-3 0-0-0 0 — 4
Batteries: Perkins - Tanner Banc, Dillon Longbrake (4) and Alex Dougan; Pawhuska - Zak Wilson, Kendall Oller (2), Kylar Moody (7) and Zalin Edwards, Zak Wilson (2).
Pitcher summaries: Perkins - Banc 3 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 hit batters; Longbrake 4 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks. Pawhuska - Wilson 1 inning, 4 runs, 3 hits, 4 walks, 2 hit batters; Oller 5 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit batter; Moody 1 inning, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout.
Game statistics: Errors - Perkins 2, Pawhuska 2. Hits - Perkins 9, Pawhuska 5. Singles - Perkins; PHS Taylor Priest 2, Dallas McCarty 2, Zak Wilson, Kendall Oller. Runs batted in - PHS Priest. Runs scored - Oyster 2, Z. Wilson, Priest. Runners left on base - Perkins 11, PHS 6.