Former Oklahoma State catcher Collin Theroux didn’t win the home run derby before the Texas League All-Star Game on Tuesday night, but it did help him produce the game’s biggest moment at ONEOK Field.
Theroux, who plays for the Midland RockHounds, belted a two-run home run that helped the South defeat the North 5-1 before a crowd of 7,449.
“I think it (home run derby) kind of helped settle my nerves a little bit, being in an event in front of a crowd,” said Theroux, who entered the game in the sixth inning. “So when I got in the box in middle of the game I felt at home.”
In his first at-bat in the seventh, the right-handed Theroux’s blast cleared the right-center wall and gave the South a 4-0 lead.
“With the way the wind was blowing in BP and home run Derby I wasn’t really sure (it was going out),” Theroux said. “I started to jog and then the center fielder went out there and I got nervous but luckily it went out so it was awesome.”
Theroux enjoyed playing at ONEOK Field against Oklahoma in the Bedlam Series during his college days.
“It was awesome with the crowd going at it for nine innings,” Theroux said. “That’s something I can share with (fellow all-stars) Cody Thomas and Donnie Walton. Those are memories I will cherish forever.”
It was a good night for OSU alumni, as Walton, a former Cowboys teammate and Bishop Kelley infielder, had a single and walk in two plate appearances and scored the North’s only run in his hometown on Arkansas teammate Evan White’s double in the eighth.
“Being here made this all that much more special,” said Walton, who is hitting .315. “I feel blessed to play in this all-star game. It was awesome seeing family, friends and all the familiar faces. This was special.”
Midland outfielder Luis Barrera edged Theroux for the MVP award. Barrera had three hits and scored twice.
Theroux has been known primarily for his defense during his career. In his one season at OSU in 2016, he had six homers in 62 games, but batted only .163. He transferred to OSU after starting his career Nevada, where he spent one year before moving to San Joaquin Delta College for two seasons.
Theroux left OSU and signed with the Oakland Athletics after being a 32nd-round draft choice. In his pro career, he has 32 homers in 223 games over four seasons, but his batting average is .170.
Tuesday night for Theroux went much better than his one previous game at ONEOK Field this season. He struck out in all three at-bats in a 7-2 loss to the Tulsa Drillers on May 1.
The Drillers had seven players appear in the game. Catcher Keibert Ruiz went 1-for-2 with a single, shortstop Gavin Lux went 0-for-2, third baseman Cristian Santana went 0-for-4, designated hitter Chris Parmelee 0-for-2, outfielder Cody Thomas 0-for-4 but made a diving catch and second baseman Zach McKinstry 1-for-2.
Drillers reliever Nolan Long worked a perfect inning. The teams used a total of 20 pitches. Tulsa pitchers Dustin May and Andre Scrubb were not used.
Misplays led to most of the South’s scoring. In the fourth, Corpus Christi’s Abraham Toro drew a leadoff walk from losing pitcher Conner Greene and eventually scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, Santana’s throwing error allowed Barrera to score from third after he led off with a single.
Theroux’s homer came after the seventh inning was extended due to a strikeout-wild pitch.
Theroux is hoping this game can be a springboard.
“The biggest thing I can take away is that I know I can hang with the best players in this league,” Theroux said. “There are some awesome, incredible players in this league.”
SOUTH 5, NORTH 1
South 000 110 201 — 5 9 1
North 000 000 010 — 1 6 1
Ramirez, Arredondo (2), Abreu (3), Sanabria (4), McKee (5), Radke (6), Jones (7), Weickel (8). Bednar (8), Gorman (9) and Torrens, Theroux (6); McCaughan, Crismatt (2), Warner (3), Greene (4), Sanchez (5), Dunn (6), Gomez (7), Long (8), Garabito (9), Anderson (9) and Ruiz, Odom (5). W: Abreu. L: Greene. HR: South, Theroux.
At Baker Mayfield's football camp, the former OU quarterback ran a play with Sooner legends Billy Simms and Barry Switzer