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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Indians ready to roll in 4A state tourney

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  • A warning for those prognosticators looking to break down the baseball postseason: Pick against Plainview at your peril.
    Even before Chase Brooks crushed a seventh-inning fastball off Blanchard to finish an impressive regional performance, one in which the Indians routed Newcastle and Blanchard by double digits before beating Blanchard again to punch a ticket to the 4A state tournament, the Indians had already shown themselves to be a formidable crew.
    Now, having won 14 in a row, 22 of 23 and dissected every opponent in its path this postseason, things are rolling along so well that even their coaches haven't noticed.
    "I didn't even know that until you mentioned it," Indians coach Brent Hackney said. "We're just playing really well right now."
    Indeed, Plainview (31-6) is clicking on all cylinders at the moment. Six everyday starters are batting over .400 at the plate, and none is below .370. Senior James Bowker is having a career year on the mound, compiling an 11-1 record to go along with 97 strikeouts and an 0.25 ERA, while sophomore Kyle Williams has risen to firmly earn the No. 2 role.
    And just for good measure, the Indians finally returned the injured Newman Hoben, who welcomed himself back with a homer during the regional series, and Gus Wells, relegated to a position player role by an arm injury, has been reinserted into the pitching rotation.
    Put it all together, and Bowker sees no reason his team shouldn't feel good about its chances in Edmond today.
    "We're pretty confident," Bowker said. "We just know we have to hit like we've been hitting, and I think if we keep doing that then we'll have no problem beating anybody."
    The Plainview offense has indeed risen to new heights over the second half of the season; since a loss to Ada on March 25, the Indians have scored less than eight runs exactly once, in a Lake Country Conference championship loss to Kingston.
    Hackney credits a lot of the surge to his senior leaders, who he felt "took ownership" of the squad in the wake of the Ada loss.
    "Early in the season, we called those guys in and explained to them what we wanted their role to be," Hackney said. "We tried to guide them in the right direction, and they stepped up.
    "We haven't had to mention in a while about having leaders on the team ... these seniors recently have taken it on themselves."
    That resolve will certainly face a fair test today as Plainview squares off with a powerhouse Catoosa squad at Edmond Memorial, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.
    Catoosa enters ranked No. 2 in 4A with a 30-2 record, and will be favored against the Indians.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bring it on.
    "We know we have to take care of ourselves," Bowker said. "If we do that, we'll have no problem."
    Hackney had similar sentiments, stating that the only thing under Plainview's control was Plainview.
    Just like it has been all year long.
    "It doesn't matter who we get, who we have to go out and play," Hackney said. "We have to do the same thing we've done all year.
    "We can't get up there and get overwhelmed, and we won't."
    Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD
    ——

    Class 4A state tournament
    Today
    Quarterfinals
    At Edmond Memorial HS
    Piedmont vs. Byng, 11 a.m.
    Tuttle vs. Weatherford, 1:30 p.m.
    Plainview vs. Catoosa, 4 p.m.
    Berryhill vs. Dewey, 6:30 p.m.
    Friday
    Semifinals
    At Edmond Memorial HS
    Piedmont-Byng winner vs. Plainview-Catoosa winner, 4 p.m.
    Berryhill-Dewey winner vs. Tuttle-Weatheford winner, 6:30 p.m.
    Saturday
    Championship
    At Shawnee HS
    Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.
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