The former Sperry bull-rider has reached a milestone moment in his baseball coaching career.
On Friday, Claremore head coach Brent Payne achieved his 600th victory after leading his Class 5A No. 1-ranked Zebras past Coweta, 10-0 in five innings at Tigers Stadium.
The win over Coweta pushed the Zebras to 25-4 overall and in sole possession of the Metro Lakes Conference title.
“What a great bunch of kids to celebrate this victory with,” Payne said following the win. “I’m proud of the way they came out and competed despite the conditions. It was more mental than physical. We had good at-bats, and Jacob (Teague) gave us another great outing on the mound.”
Payne, who’s coached high school baseball for nearly 30 years in northeastern Oklahoma, added that it was important to get this game in because of seedings in the regional tournament later this week.
The Zebras — already granted a regional berth in Class 5A — will host on Thursday-Saturday at Legendary Legion Field.
Claremore took a commanding 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on Dalton Clifton’s two-run double to left-center field. Clifton’s extra-base hit was one of four doubles in the game.
Matt Whatley had doubles in the first and third innings, while Bryce Howe produced a lead-off double in the top of the fifth inning.
Whatley’s two-out RBI-double in the top of the third plated Andrew Byington, who reached on a walk, to make it 4-0 in favor of the Zebras.
Claremore blew the game open in the top of the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits. Tyler Cagle and Brandon Varnell both drove in two runs apiece with singles to right-center field. Isaac Hollihan also had an RBI-single to right field as the Zebras extended their lead to 9-0.
Claremore secured the run-rule in the top of the fifth with Howe leading off with a double, and courtesy runner Spencer Walden later scoring on a passed ball behind Coweta catcher Dakota Remington to make it 10-0.
On the mound, Jacob Teague improved to 7-1 on the season after tossing a complete game with nine strikeouts and one hit allowed.
“Jacob’s been awfully good for us in his last three outings,” Payne said. “He’s money in the month of April.”