The Ardmore Tigers are determined to go to state. They get to begin their chance to attain that feat today as they start postseason play in the Class 5A regional tournament at Deer Creek-Edmond High School.


The Ardmore Tigers are determined to go to state. They get to begin their chance to attain that feat today as they start postseason play in the Class 5A regional tournament at Deer Creek-Edmond High School.

The Tigers (19-12), who are ranked ninth in the Class 5A CoachesAid Poll, and 10th by OKrankings.com, face former Southern Conference rival Lawton MacArthur (14-15) at 4 this afternoon.

A win would advance Ardmore to a 4 p.m. Thursday game against the winner of the Deer Creek-Edmond/Harrah game. A loss would force it to meet the loser of that game, immediately thereafter, at 6:30 tonight. The championship game is slated for 4 p.m. Friday, with the if-game set for 6:30 p.m. if necessary.

"I'm just excited about the challenge, and the opportunity," Ardmore coach Zack Birth said. "It's a challenge to go out and play three quality baseball teams, and a chance to go to the state championship. I think the kids are excited. I'm excited, and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Ardmore has not played Lawton Mac this season, but has played Harrah (7-16) and Deer Creek. It beat Harrah 15-1 in its season opener on March 1, and lost 8-0 to Deer Creek on April 12.

Deer Creek (24-10), ranked sixth, is the top seed in the regional.

"It's a good regional," Birth said. "We played Deer Creek earlier in the year, and they got the best of us up there. We didn't play our best ball, so our kids are excited about going there and getting another chance to play them. But our focus right now is on Lawton Mac. That's who we've got to play (today), and we're not looking ahead whatsoever. Lawton Mac has got a quality team, and they're going to show up ready to play. I think we're ready for them."

Birth sees each team in the regional as having different strengths and different weaknesses, but the key will be for Ardmore to play up to its strengths.

"Like I told the boys and like (assistant) Coach (Vic) Brumley and (assistant) Coach (Randy) Cumbie told them, it's not a matter of what their strengths are. It is just us showing up focused, and playing the caliber of ball that we're capable of playing. If we do that, I feel very comfortable that we'll find a way to win.

"It's more about playing to our strengths, and worrying about what we can take care of and not worrying about everybody else. If you take care of yourself, do the little things throw strikes, play defense and hit the ball everything else has a way of working itself out."

By Friday, the Tigers hope to be the ones piling up at home plate while celebrating a berth to state tournament next week.

Mike Moguin, 221-6522

mike.moguin@ardmoreite.com