Those four letters hold a special meaning to the 2013 Verdigris Cardinals baseball team.
For the past two seasons, the Cardinals have used ‘W.T.L.G.’ as their motivation toward building a baseball dynasty.
Inside the dugout — from March to May — these Cardinals believe in ‘Winning The Last Game’.
For this year’s senior class — led by outfielder Tanner Smith and shortstop/pitcher Blake Battenfield, Verdigris has produced back-to-back state championships in Class 3A.
In 2012, the Cardinals rallied to beat Metro Christian, 6-5 for their second state championship and finished the season with a 30-4 overall record.
In 2011, the Cardinals rolled past Eufaula, 8-2 to claim the 3A state championship and recorded a 32-8 overall record.
Under the leadership of head coach Brian Keith and assistant coach Scott Smith, the Cardinals’ baseball program has produced a two-year overall recorded of 62-12.
The senior class gears up for their final season, looking to bring a 3-peat back to Verdigris.
For Smith and Battenfield, and the other seniors, the diamond is where dreams come true.
On Saturday, the road toward the 3-peat starts for this experienced group of Cardinals.
With Battenfield and Ryan Skalnik still chasing those title dreams on the basketball court in the 3A Area Tournament, the Cardinals will open the season against Nowata without their ace pitcher/shortstop and starting third baseman.
Smith, however, returns for his fourth year in center field, and will be looked upon for leadership and ‘pop’ in the Cardinals’ lineup.
Blessed with blazing speed, Smith provides the Cardinals with a potent weapon in the outfield.
Also, sharing time in the outfield will be senior Ryan Hurd and senior J.W. Owens.
Hurd and Smith helped spark the Cardinals’ football team to the second-round of the Class 3A state playoffs and a 10-2 overall record.
Smith amassed 2,282 rushing yards and scored 31 touchdowns as the Cardinals’ four-year starting tailback.
This season, the Cardinals’ infield will consist of Skalnik at third base, Battenfield at shortstop, Kale Keith at second base and Mitch Hammack at first base.
Behind the plate, sophomore Riley Kelzor and Hammack will share catching duties.
The 2013 Cardinals roster includes: Blake Battenfield, SS, Sr., Gabe Rodery, 1B/OF/LHP, Fr., Ryan Hurd, OF/RHP, Sr., Ryan Skalnik, 3B/RHP, Jr., Reece Phillips, OF/RHP, Soph., Mitch Hammack, 1B/C/RHP, Soph., Nathan Green, OF, Soph., Trey Weiesnbach, OF/C/RHP, Fr., Riley Kelzor, C/1B/RHP, Soph., Nathan Nadal, OF, Fr., Kale Keith, 2B/OF/RHP, Soph., Blake Stone, 3B/1B/OF, Soph., Caleb Ayers, 2B, Soph., Tanner Smith, OF/RHP, Sr., Trevor Moyer, 1B/OF/LHP, Fr., J.W. Owens, OF/RHP, Sr., Dalton Turner, OF, Fr., Sam Hill, 1B/RHP/C, Soph. and Peyton Battenfield, 2B/RHP, Fr.
Verdigris opens baseball season Saturday against Nowata
‘Team behind the Team’
For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.
Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2
The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.
MLB: Scherzer wins 12th, Tigers edge Angels 6-4
The day after the Detroit Tigers traded for Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan made a point of showing why he is still manager Brad Ausmus' No. 1 option in the ninth inning.
Nathan struck out the side on 12 pitches to secure Max Scherzer's 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between two of the top three teams in the majors.
RG3: 'Nice when coaches believe in you'
Instead of engaging in another round of contradictory, back-and-forth podium sessions with Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III stood at the microphone and said he has coaches who believe in him. He implied he wasn't even allowed to do ''the bare minimum'' as a quarterback a year ago.
NBA: Griffin withdraws from US national team
Blake Griffin has withdrawn from playing for the U.S. national basketball team this summer.
The Los Angeles Clippers star was one of 19 players selected to the roster from which the World Cup team will be chosen.
Central Arkansas picked 4th in Southland Conference football poll
The University of Central Arkansas is picked fourth in both the preseason Southland Conference polls released Wednesday by the conference.
C-USA commish sees bright future in changing times
Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky knows at least one thing won't change with autonomy for the five power conferences to make their own bylaws.
"There's been a differentiator whether you call them BCS, non-BCS," Banowsky said Wednesday. "I'm not naive to think that there won't be some continued differentiation."
BIG 12: Cowboys preparing early for FSU QB Winston
Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer has spent considerable time this summer trying to find flaws in Jameis Winston's game.
He's still searching.
Oklahoma State opens the season against last year's Heisman Trophy winner and defending national champion Florida State on Aug. 30 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Though practice doesn't start until Aug. 1, Spencer already is stressed about dealing with Winston.
Spurrier: Gamecocks 'close' to being title team
South Carolina's Steve Spurrier always considered the Gamecocks were a long-term project, even if some on the outside of the program saw it was just a quick lay-over for the national championship coach.
Razorback Fan Day set for Aug. 17
The University of Arkansas has announced plans for its annual Fan Day for Razorback football fans.
The event will be Sunday, Aug. 17, starting at 2 p.m. with admission free for all fans.
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