By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Southwest Covenant knew their first ever appearance in the Class B State Baseball Championships would be a major challenge.
Especially since the Patriots were the No. 8 seed and were facing the No. 1 ranked team in Leedey in the final game of the first day of the tournament. And, it made it a little tougher when the game was pushed back to an 8:30 p.m. start.
Southwest Covenant took Leedey to the wire before falling 5-0 in nine innings Thursday night at Edmond Memorial’s high school field.
The Patriots, 20-12, had chances in the game and even had the bases loaded in the fourth inning that could have put SWCS in front, with the way senior Sam Webb was working on the mound. Webb worked six and two-thirds innings and scattered six hits while striking out eight.
But, the Patriots couldn’t keep Leedey, 28-3, off the board all night. The Bison put together three hits in the top of the ninth inning that led to five runs. Leedey pitcher Colton Hunter sent the Patriots down in order in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Leedey took the lead on an RBI single by Ty Goss with one out. The Bison loaded the bases in the ninth inning on a single and two intentional walks. With two out, Parker Ward doubled down the left field line that cleared the bases and gave Leedey a 4-0 lead. Ayden Page singled to drive in Ward.
The Patriots did get a runner on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Leedey ended the game with a doubleplay ground ball.
SWCS had runners on base in the first and third innings, both on doubles Webb and both times he was stranded on base.
Walks to Trevor Kelly and Andrew Hickman and a Cole Shaw single loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth. Leedey got out of the inning by getting the next batter to strike out.
Southwest Covenant had only two baserunners the rest of the way.
The Patriots reached the state tournament in only their third year of existence. SWCS started baseball five years ago with a junior high program and this was the second group of seniors to play all four years for SWCS.
The team won their first ever regional last week, but has won three straight district titles. The Patriots were unranked all season.
The team has been under the guidance of head coach Jeff Deckard, who began the program and is a volunteer coach. The Patriots were also the third team (basketball and volleyball) to reach the state tournament this year.
By Chuck Reherman