COLLINSVILLE, OK —
Anthony Martinez got his team out of plenty of jams Thursday.
It was only fitting that the sophomore shortstop caught the final pop fly to help Pryor beat Collinsville, 6-3, in a regional championship game and send the Tigers back to the state tournament for the third time in four years.
Pryor (21-15) won three close games in two days at Pat Colpitt Field to punch its return ticket, largely on the glove and bat of Martinez, who came through in timely situations all weekend for the Tigers.
"Anthony played great the whole weekend, made great plays, had great at-bats," Pryor head coach Gerald Osborne said. "There's not anybody else I'd have wanted to catch that pop-up at the end of the game."
In Thursday's title game, Martinez ended the fourth and fifth innings by starting 6-3 double plays and came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth to get starter Conley Ledoux out of a jam.
Martinez was also the hero against the Cardinals Wednesday, smacking a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to force Collinsville into an elimination scenario with a 2-1 win.
"I wasn't thinking, I was just playing," Martinez said. "It's awesome. I'm ready for state, ready for Carl Albert."
The Tigers will play the Titans May 15 in a rematch of a state quarterfinal from last season.
"It always feels great. It never gets old," Osborne said. "It's what you're striving for all season, to be playing on the last weekend."
Pryor leapt out to a 6-0 lead through four innings Thursday.
The top of the order did most of the damage for the Tigers. Martinez, the lead-off hitter, reached on three walks and a single and scored three times. Three-hole hitter Spencer Henson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and cleanup hitter Nate Wolfe was 2-for-4 and batted in a run.
Brennon Barth batted in two runs on a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
Ledoux (7-3) worked five scoreless innings before allowing his first run in the sixth. Wolfe came on in the seventh and allowed a pair of runs, including a solo home run, but did just enough to propel the Tigers to the win.
On Wednesday, the Tigers got a complete game from Henson, who struck out seven Cardinals en route to his sixth win of the season.
Pryor managed one hit until the sixth inning, when the bottom of the order (Bradley Nixon, Tylor Arnold and Ledoux) loaded the bases for Martinez, who took a 3-2 pitch over the Collinsville centerfielder's head for the game-winning RBI.
"That's a really good club (Collinsville) that's won a bunch of games and beat a bunch of good people," Osborne said. "We played really well and tough and had a lot of heart, and we were better two times."