By Chuck Reherman
Taking aim on a state title.
Yukon will be looking to take one more step further than their previous trip to the class 6A State Baseball Championships, beginning Thursday.
The Millers will face Owasso in the opening round in what is one of the toughest state brackets in recents years. The teams will meet in the final game of the day at 7 p.m. at Edmond Memorial High School.
The remainder of the bracket includes Jenks, Edmond Santa Fe, Mustang, Union, Bixby and Edmond Deer Creek.
District 6A-2 is represented by three teams, district champ Yukon, runner-up Mustang and third place team Santa Fe.
The Millers, 31-7-1, will face an Owasso team, 32-4 in what is expected to be a pitcher’s dual. The Millers will send Carson Benge to the mound, while Owasso will send lefthander Brennan Phillips. Both are D-1 commits.
“Everyone up there can play,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “Owasso has a good program, a very storied progam. Out of all the guys in the state of Oklahoma there are very few that have been at their school as long as I have and coach (Larry) Turner is one of them. Their program does things the right way, are very successful. They have the Owasso way and I feel like we are on the heels of that.
“Stability there has made them successful there and it has made us here,” he added. “There is not a whole lot of turnover in the coaches. They have kids coming in and out of their program that have been very successful.
“We are excited about the opportunity. Our kids feel pretty good about it, the coaches feel good about it, we feel we have a good match up with them and are very confident about it.”
Owasso’s only losses came at the hands of Tulsa Union (twice), Blanchard and Sand Springs. The Rams enter the game with seven wins in a row, while the Millers come in riding an eight-game win streak.
“It will be a fun day,” James said. “I thought the Thursday game with Choctaw (in the regionals) no one knew how it would play out and what a pitcher’s dual it turned out to be. Usually during regionals I’m pretty nervous, but not in the state tournament, even when we played for those two championships.
“To me it is icing on the cake, we have done all this work now let’s have some fun with it,” he said. “Even throughout these regionals and really all year long I’m very confident about the kids and how they go about their business. They are listening and I like our chances, we catch a break here or there and we can run the table.
“We have to go play and beat three good teams. We have seen some good lefties in our last few games and both were quality. We have an opportunity to see something we are familiar with and we feel good.”