Claremore Daily Progress

March 26, 2013

No. 2 Zebras roll into Pryor

C Whatley returns behind plate to anchor the defense

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

CLAREMORE — Claremore’s veteran catcher Matt Whatley is back behind the plate.

Last week, in Florida, the three-year starter returned to the diamond after spending the past two months recovering his injured back.

Whatley’s appearance in the Claremore lineup allows season-opening catcher T.J. Wood to move to his more comfortable position in the middle infield.

Earlier this season, Wood credited Whatley for helping him adjust to being behind the plate.

“I appreciate everything Matt did and the advice he gave me during my time behind the plate,” Wood said after catching Bryce Howe’s no-hitter against Skiatook earlier this month. “He’s one of the best in the state and our leader.”

Whatley and the Zebras carry their Class 5A No. 2 ranking into Pryor at 4:30 p.m. today for a non-conference battle between two rivals.

The “Battle of Rogers/Mayes County” has produced some thrilling games in years past, including Claremore’s 8-2 and 18-6 victories over Pryor in the 2012 Class 5A Regional Tournament at Legendary Legion Field.

Claremore (9-3) looks to stay perfect in the state of Oklahoma, having won 8 of their last 12 games. The other win came during the Aggie Classic in Pensacola, Fla. over Spring Break.

Pryor (8-5) is ranked No. 10 in Class 5A and so far this season, is 4-1 on its home field. The Tigers went 2-2 at the Aggie Classic.