EDMOND, OK —
Sometimes, David just can't beat Goliath.
On Thursday, the underdog Pryor Tigers were outgunned by the defending state champion Carl Albert Titans, 8-1, in 5A state baseball quarterfinal action at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
“[Carl Albert] is a very good club,” Pryor head coach Gerald Osborne said. “They're the defending state champions. We played hard, gave it our best shot, but they were better. No crime in that.”
The young Tigers (24-12) kept the hard-hitting Titans scoreless for two innings before the floodgates opened in the third. Carl Albert leadoff hitter Steve Thompson blasted a double before the Tigers intentionally walked cleanup slugger Gavin Levalley. Tiger senior Zack Hammock hit Chevin Noone with a pitch to load the bases before walking catcher Cory Zangari to score the opening run.
Levalley scored on a passed ball to widen the lead to 2-0, the only runs the Titans (33-3) would need. The Titans added two more runs in the inning, and two apiece in the fourth and fifth to clinch the win and a tough season finale for Pryor's diamond crew.
“You're always disappointed when your season ends, wherever that is,” Osborne said. “Everybody wants to win the last one.”
The Tigers' lone run came in the sixth inning, a single off the bat of freshman Spencer Henson to score senior Casey Holloway — a fittingly symbolic passing of the torch by a senior finishing his trip around the bases, boosted by a freshman who is just starting his own.
Holloway is one of three seniors, along with Hammock and first-baseman Foster McCollough, who wrapped up their days as Tigers at the state tourney.
“All three of those guys are great young men. All high-character guys, leaders, great examples for all of us. They'll be missed,” Osborne said. “They stayed the course and ended the year in what we would consider the high school World Series.”
Holloway had back-to-back seasons with 40 stolen bases, swiping his 40th of this season Thursday. Holloway claimed the school stolen base record last year and tied it this year. Holloway was 2-for-3 on the day, and Henson went 2-for-3 with a RBI. Hammock took the loss but finished the season with a respectable 10-3 record.
“We don't define ourselves by whether or not we win a state championship,” Osborne said. “There are a lot more things that go into our definition of success. I don't really get into all that stuff [about winning the state championship]. I'm more about the process, improving and getting better every day. That other stuff will take care of itself.
“We had a great season. I couldn't be prouder of that group of men. They overachieved all season long.”
Pryor has never won a state title, but has been the state runner-up in three years — 1922, 1957 and 1992.