Union wins 6A: Bases-loaded walk lifts Redskins past Rams
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
5/18/10 at 12:17 PM
Correction: A Tuesday Tulsa World Sports story incorrectly reported the Owasso High School baseball player who made a catch to start a double play against Union in the eighth inning of their Class 6A state championship game Monday night. Garrett Schaede made the catch in shallow right field. This story has been corrected.
Union sophomore Josh Whisler waited patiently but never got anything to hit, which was just fine with him.
Whisler drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Redskins to a thrilling 10-9 extra-inning victory over No. 1-ranked Owasso in the Class 6A state baseball championship game Monday night at ONEOK Field.
Most of a high school state championship-record crowd of 6,954 stuck around for the final pitch of a game that took nearly four hours.
"It was pretty tough," Whisler said. "I wanted to hit, but he didn't throw me anything. There is a tendency to swing the bat. I got ahead in the count and was looking for my pitch. I was just taking."
It's the Redskins' first crown since winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
"It's an awesome feeling," said Union coach Shawn Newkirk.
No. 6 Union concludes at 30-10, while Owasso finishes at 34-7.
"It was a great game. Great venue," said Owasso coach Larry Turner. "A couple of times, I thought our youth showed. But I am proud of them."
The loss ends the Rams' run of three consecutive 6A state titles.
"We've been blessed. Very fortunate," Turner said. "How many kids have a chance to win one?"
Union scored the winning run without a hit.
Owasso's Phillip Wilson, who pitched the final 4
2/3 innings in relief, walked Buddy Shanks to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt moved courtesy runner Cody Graham to second, Wilson walked Shane Kinnear, then got a popup for the second out.
Another walk by Robbie Hoffman loaded the bases, and Whisler took a strike before four consecutive balls.
"Baseball is a game of inches," Newkirk said. "It just came down to that pitch."
Union senior Mitch Bryant pitched the final 2
2/3 innings in relief. He was first in line for the win, then the loss, then, after getting a double play to end a major threat in the ninth, the win.
"We fought all year," Bryant said. "This is a perfect way to end. We were just running on pure adrenaline."
Union got out to a fast start, but Owasso rallied to lead in the top of the fifth, only to have the Redskins retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Owasso scored three times in the top of the seventh off Union closer Cole Way, and the Redskins had an opportunity to win it in the bottom of the eighth but wasted it.
Jacob Rice was safe on an error leading off the inning, going all the way to third base.
Consecutive intentional walks loaded the bases with no outs for the Redskins. Taylor Alspaugh's fly to shallow right field was caught easily by Garrett Schaede, but Rice tagged up at third and tried to score. Schaede threw to first baseman Justin Steelmon, who relayed home. Rice appeared to have a chance, but Rams catcher Corey Sole blocked the plate with his left leg and tagged out Rice for the second out. Wilson ended the threat by getting Cole Webb to ground out.
The Redskins hit four solo home runs, including a pair of towering blasts by Wade Ambrose to center field. Rice and Alspaugh also homered for Union. Alspaugh's line drive just inside the right field foul pole followed Ambrose's second shot in the fifth inning and stemmed Owasso's initial rally by tying it at 6-6.
The Rams fell behind early and needed a rally, and they got it in the fifth inning on three consecutive singles. The last, a two-run hit by Payton Allen, gave Owasso its first lead, 5-4. A sacrifice bunt by Garrett Schaede padded the Rams' advantage to 6-4.
After homers by Ambrose and Alspaugh made it 6-6, Union retook the lead on a triple by Webb, an RBI fielder's choice by Graham and an RBI single by Shane Kinnear that put the Redkins ahead 8-6.
An unearned Union run and a 1-2-3 inning by Way in the sixth pushed the Redskins' lead to 9-6, but the Rams rallied again. Steelmon's RBI triple made it 9-7, and Allen's single made it 9-8.
After Bryant replaced Way, the Rams loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Schaede and Andrew Rosa. Bryant's first offering to Corey Sole grazed Sole on the thigh, forcing in the tying run.
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In title hunt to the end
Owasso's game against Union for the Class 6A state championship on Monday marks the 17th time the Rams have played in the state title game. Here is a look at the state championship game results for Owasso:
2010: Union 10, Owasso 9 (9)
2009: Owasso 10, Edmond Santa Fe 1
2008: Owasso 5, Moore 2
2007: Owasso 1, Edmond Memorial 0
2006: Union 4, Owasso 3
2005: Union 5, Owasso 4
2004: Owasso 11, Edmond North 1
2003: Owasso 10, Putnam North 5
2001: Owasso 6, Stillwater 4
2000: Jenks 4, Owasso 2
1999: Owasso 4, Sapulpa 3 (9 inn.)
1998: Owasso 10, Muskogee 2
1997: Jenks 3, Owasso 2
1987: Owasso 2, Choctaw 1
1978: Bishop Kelley 6, Owasso 0
1975: Owasso 10, Okmulgee 0
1973: Owasso 5, Okmulgee 0
— MARK FOSTER, World sports Writer
John E. Hoover 581-8384
Union players mob teammate Cody Graham after he scored the winning run against Owasso in the Class 6A state baseball championship game at ONEOK Field on Monday. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World
Union players hoist their Class 6A state baseball trophy after defeating Owasso in nine innings, 10-9. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World