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
Cards fly into 3A State Tournament
Verdigris junior guard Cade Upshaw lives for March Madness.
The 5-foot-10 sharp-shooter overcame a sluggish performance in a loss to Tahlequah Sequoyah to bounce back for a 20-point outing in the Cardinals’ 72-42 win over Antlers Saturday evening in the Class 3A Area Tournament at Checotah Event Center.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Tahlequah Sequoyah wins nail-biter over No. 4 Verdigris
The Tahlequah Sequoyah Indians pulled the upset Friday night and punched their ticket to the Class 3A State Tournament.
Behind Caisen Green’s game-high 26 points and B.J. Leach’s 16 points, the Indians roared past No. 4 Verdigris, 64-55 in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah
Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.
Winter’s last gasp?
A powerful winter storm brought sleet and snow to Rogers County Sunday, leaving roads in hazardous condition and all schools were closed on Monday.
‘Night to Remember’
Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell may have won the points column, but Inola’s Lexi Williams and the Lady Longhorns stole the spotlight at the buzzer.
Williams, who transferred into Inola this year from Bixby and is the daughter of Lady Longhorns’ coaches Donnie and Lori Martin, made Thursday night one to remember in Rogers County.
Cards rout Inola 98-80
There was no denying Thursday night that the Verdigris Cardinals had no plans of sharing their Will Rogers Conference Championship.
Behind Cade Upshaw’s game-high 27 points and the accurate 3-point shooting of freshman forward Brewster Peacock, the Class 3A No. 4 Cardinals swarmed over Inola, 98-80.
BASKETBALL: Verdigris rolls past Lincoln Christian
The Verdigris Cardinals posted a pair of 23-point victories over the Lincoln Christian Bulldogs Friday night.
The Lady Cardinals, ranked third in Class 3A, won 68-45. The Verdigirs boys, ranked fourth in 3A, had all five starters score in double figures in an 81-58 win.
Battenfield takes over in Lady Cards' win over Sequoyah
Verdigris freshman guard Keara Battenfield raised her level of offensive production Tuesday night to lead the Class 3A No. 3 Lady Cardinals past Claremore Sequoyah, 58-34 in Will Rogers Conference play at the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Battenfield tallied a game-high 21 points — 15 of which came in the first half — and 6-foot-1 junior forward Courtney Risenhoover contributed with 16.
Soaring Cardinals swarm Claremore Sequoyah
Verdigris senior power forward Caleb Jones tallied a game-high 30 points to lead the Class 3A No. 4 Cardinals past Claremore Sequoyah, 76-55 Tuesday afternoon in Will Rogers Conference play at the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Jones had 18 of his season-high 30 in the second half as the Cardinals pulled away from a 35-31 halftime lead.
- More Verdigris Headlines
- Cards fly into 3A State Tournament