Kim Teague charted every strikeout and fought back the tears Monday night as her son, Jacob Teague, tossed his third no-hitter on Senior Night at Legendary Legion Field.
Teague, a 6-foot-1 left-handed pitcher, struck out 13 batters and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles to lead the Class 5A No. 2-ranked Claremore Zebras past Tahlequah, 14-0 in Metro Lakes Conference action.
The win guaranteed the Zebras (24-4) at least a share of the conference championship and moved head coach Brent Payne to his 599th overall coaching victory.
An emotional Payne reflected on the night, saying this senior group will be a “hard one to lose.”
“It’s not just the kids, but also the parents. This group has worked so hard to raise the level of Claremore baseball and each win is special,” Payne added.
Teague (6-1) rode the adrenaline of Senior Night for five strong innings and dominated Tahlequah’s lineup.
Despite delivering a lead-off walk to Tahlequah’s Ben Stanley in the top of the third inning, Teague settled in and allowed his ‘nasty’ curveball to take over.
“I was really amped up early on and didn’t have the command that I normally have,” Teague said. “Once we got that big lead in the third, I was able to settle in and just pitch (relying on my curveball).”
Teague’s finesse on the mound — in front of a jam-packed crowd and an assistant coach from Oral Roberts University — took centerstage in the final three innings of Monday’s game.
Tahlequah final nine hitters never got a bat on Teague’s knee-breaking curveball as the senior pitcher recorded nine straight strikeouts to seal the win.
In back-to-back conference outings — including 13 strikeouts in a no-hitter against Grove six nights ago — Teague’s been unstoppable, and just what Payne wants to see heading into the postseason.
“The way he’s thrown in his last two outings is what I hope to see in the weeks to come,” Payne said. “Once he settles into a game, and has command of his pitches, he’s tough to beat.”
Claremore’s offense led 3-0 after two innings and then scorched Tahlequah for 11 runs on two outs in the bottom of the third inning.
Back-to-back doubles by Brandon Varnell and Matt Whatley, along with Bryce Howe’s towering three-run bomb over the 385-foot wall in center field increased Claremore’s lead to 12-0.
Andrew Byington added an RBI-double and Tyler Cagle drove in the final run with an RBI-single to cap off Claremore’s electrifying third inning.
“This night’s always tough,” Payne said. “I’m proud of how we won, proud of the way Teague pitched and most of all, proud of the way we were capable of having good at-bats throughout the lineup.”