SHAWNEE,OKLA – Red Oak defeated No. 1 seed Canute in the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Class A baseball state championship, winning 7-6 Monday at Shawnee’s Memorial Park.
“We knew going in how good Canute is,” Eagles first-year coach Cody Pair said. “They can really really hit. Our kids, we got beat in the quarters in the fall and they wore it.
“They took it hard because they said, ‘We’re going to get better’ and our kids have worked tirelessly this spring to be better hitters. And we knew we could pitch it.
“We’ve got a pretty good pitching staff; we know that. That team can hit, but we knew we could kind of hold them at bay enough to where if we could go score, we had a chance to win.”
Third-seed Red Oak (26-7) earned its seventh Oklahoma high school baseball spring title, but first since 2016. Canute (27-3) remains in pursuit of its first spring baseball state title.
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With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Red Oak’s Tanner King’s single to center drove in junior Asher Kauk from second to make it 6-5. In the next at-bat, a fielder’s choice got the second out at second base, but an additional run came in as a throw got away from first on an attempted double play.
“He’s a sophomore, didn’t play in the fall and our kids stayed after him because we knew he was a piece,” said Pair on King, who went 2-for-3 with a double.
Prior to that, with Red Oak ahead 5-3, a two-run home run by senior Dru Steffes tied the score.
Sophomore Oklahoma State commitment Brex Caldwell was the starting pitcher for the Eagles and went six innings, allowing six runs with five earned on 116 pitches.
The right-hander threw two scoreless innings, before Canute’s Colby Maddox double made it 1-1 in the third.
In the next half-inning, Red Oak responded with two straight singles by Caldwell and Denver Hamilton, before a double to left by sophomore Coby Bell drove in both.
However, Canute led off with two singles of their own in the fourth. Two batters later, a bloop to right field by Colt Randall made it 3-2. On the next at-bat, an attempted backhand by the shortstop allowed Owen Elliot to score with the error as the throw to first didn’t make it in time.
You can follow Bryant Roche on Twitter @BRocheSports and you can email him at [email protected]