OKLAHOMA CITY — Ranked No. 25 nationally by Perfect Game, Carl Albert capitalized on the extra outs and hittable pitches Ardmore offered.
The final numbers told a story of Carl Albert’s dominance. The Titans swept the doubleheader against Ardmore on Thursday at Carl Albert High School, 18-5 and 15-1, respectively. Each game ended after five inning via the run rule.
In the first game, two lead-off walks in the second inning proved costly. Carl Albert took advantage of the free passes issued by Ardmore starting pitcher Sam Chandler, and hung seven runs on the scoreboard.
Carl Albert’s consecutive high-scoring innings were the story of the day.
“They’re a quality baseball club,” said Ardmore coach Will Trisciani. “They play the game right. If you get behind hitters, you walk guys, and it‘s a windy day, they’re going to get the ball up in the air. We made some mistakes early. You cannot get into an offensive battle with a team like that. When you do, they’re going to come out and pound the ball, pound the ball and pound the ball. You give them opportunities with guys on base, they make things happen.”
The wind was blowing out to right field all afternoon, increasing the importance of Ardmore’s pitchers locating their throws down in the strike zone.
“We got behind in counts, so we were forced to come back in,” Trisciani said. “They throw the ball over the plate, and allow them to just tee off on it. If guys do that to us, then we’re going to do the same thing. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board. We’ve had great outings from our pitchers, and we did a good job at times today. ... We’re going to be okay. We’ve just got to start capitalizing when we do get runners on and cut out the mistakes. (if) we can do that, we’re going to be a quality ball club.”
In the first game, Ardmore (0-7) showed signs of fight as the Tigers faced a 13-0 deficit to begin the frame. Jake Patterson led off the inning with a double. He scored as Rhontrey Burkhalter laid down a sacrifice bunt. Carl Albert catcher Corey Zangari committed a throwing error, allowing Burkhalter to reach base. Bodee Coffman drew a one-out walk, prompting a pitching change. The Titans’ new pitcher was wild with his first offering, and each Tiger runner advanced one base.
On a 3-1 count, John Kuykendall tossed his bat aside, believing he drew a walk. The umpire called the pitch a strike. On the next pitch, he laced a two-run single to plate Burkhalter and Coffman.
On the next pitch, Easton Daniels hit a two-run home run to draw Ardmore to within eight runs.
Though his team fell to 0-4 in district play, Trisciani said he liked the life his team showed.
In the bottom of the inning, Ardmore’s new pitcher, Marvin Noland, could sustain the momentum.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to take the momentum and keep it,” Trisciani said. “We make a few plays here and there, it’s a different ball game. Both of them.”
Trisciani said his players were a little star-struck because 27 scouts were in attendance. As a junior, Carl Albert infielder Gavin LaValley was a 2013 Second Team High School All-American, according to Baseball America.
LaValley also earned Perfect Game underclass honorable mention honors last season.
Scouts stayed after the two games to watch Titans’ shortstop Justin McGregor and center fielder Steve Thompson take some swings with wooden bats.
Trisciani said Carl Albert had a few players that will be drafted within the first three rounds of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June.
Against such competition — the Titans are back-to-back state champions — Ardmore’s margin for error was small. The Tigers gave them outs all afternoon.
Nonetheless, Trisciani expressed optimism about his squad.
“We’re going to be okay,” he said. “We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. We’ll keep our heads up and keep plugging away.”