NORMAN — Any time Oklahoma and Texas hook up, there doesn’t have to be anything on the line for the game to mean something. Whether it’s in the college ranks or high school all-stars teams, that way of thinking remains true.
So when Team Oklahoma and Team Texas faced off Thursday in the final game of the Heartland Classic round robin, it didn’t need any more incentive to make it big. But because the two teams were playing for the top-seed in the playoff bracket, it put a little more emphasis on the matchup.
Unfortunately for Oklahoma, it was Texas who raised its game to match the stakes. Texas came away with a 6-3 victory at Norman North High.
“We played well,” Texas catcher Bryndan Arredondo said. “We came out early and got some runs. We kind of coasted a little bit, kind of got on our heels. We came out with the win. That’s all that matters.”
The win gives Texas (5-1) a bye in the first round of the single-elimination tournament, which starts today. Oklahoma (4-2) dropped to the No. 2 seed after losing two games Thursday. It will play Arkansas in the opening round.
Despite the pair of losses, Oklahoma is still confident heading into the tournament. Part of that comes from the way the team has found a way to stage comebacks late in games.
“These kids have a lot of heart,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Schafer said. “They are going to fight. They are not going to quit until the end. That’s what makes baseball exciting. You have to play all seven.”
Oklahoma did its best to make one of those comebacks against Texas after trailing 6-1 in the top of the seventh inning. They strung together a couple of hits before an error by Texas allowed a run to score. Gavin Lavalley added an RBI single to close the deficit to three runs.