Claremore Daily Progress

June 20, 2013

Team Oklahoma rolls to 4-0 in Heartland Classic

Claremore's Hollihan, Carl Albert's LaValley powers offense

CNHI News Services

MOORE — After two days of grueling baseball under the hot Oklahoma sun, they are the last unbeaten team standing. With two victories Wednesday, Team Oklahoma moved to 4-0 in the Heartland Baseball Classic.

“It’s very impressive,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Schafer said. “All these teams are good, quality teams. When you do things right, it gives you a chance to win.

“Like we told our guys when we assembled this team, we didn’t do it just to be in it. Let’s try and win this thing.”

Though Oklahoma was runner-up in the 2012 Classic, not many saw it getting off to so strong a start. Southmoore grad Tre Edwards said the key has been the team bonding right off the bat.

“It says a lot,” Edwards said. “We had 30 minutes of practice before this thing started. We have just gelled together like we’re brothers. Like we’ve been playing together for 10 years. I just love it.”

That can be seen in the variety of ways. The squad began the Classic Tuesday with a pair of victories that came down the final at bat.

In its win over Team Ohio, Oklahoma trailed 5-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning Oklahoma finally got its bats going and scored four runs before loading the bases for Carl Albert’s Gavin Lavalley. Lavalley walked, bringing Edwards home to tie the game.

Justin McGregor ended the night with a game-winning bloop single that brought home Quinn Walberg.

“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Edwards said. “It was awesome. We’re down five, we’re the Heat game. We get a couple of guys on. We’re like ‘Let’s focus and maybe we can win this game.’ It was pretty cool.”

Oklahoma came back Wednesday knock around Team Arkansas 13-2 before taking out Team Colorado 9-2. In their four games, Oklahoma has outscored opponents 31-11.

Well, we’ve had good pitching,” Schafer said. “Our starting pitching has done a really good job. Then we played good defense. You get good pitching and good defense, and you get some timely hitting. That gives you a chance to win.”

Oklahoma is a long way off from winning the Classic. It still has to get through Team Georgia (2-2) and Team Texas (3-1) today in the final games of the round-robin.

It’s always a big game in the Classic, but if Oklahoma and Texas can both win early today, it will make tonight’s 7 p.m. matchup between the two at Norman North for the No. 1-seed heading into single-elimination bracket play Friday.

“We are playing really well right now. We are hitting the ball,” Lavalley said. “Our defense, that’s our strength … We just have to keep it up.

“Our plan was that after we had those two walk-off wins, we might as well win it, try to go undefeated. We just need to keep playing hard.”

NOTES: Claremore outfielder Isaac Hollihan went 2-for-4 with a 3-run double and an RBI-single during Team Oklahoma's win over Arkansas. Later in the day, Claremore pitcher Bryce Howe tossed 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts on four hits to spark Team Oklahoma past Team Colorado, 9-2.