Following the devastating storms in the Oklahoma City area this week, Big 12 Conference officials left the decision regarding its baseball championship tournament to local leaders.
“We wanted them to give us a sense of what to do,” Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda said of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association and government officials. “We wanted them to tell us what was in the best interest of the community as people begin to recover and heal.”
Ultimately, the league chose to postpone the tournament by one day and change its format. It will now begin Thursday and feature two pools. Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor will be in one pool, and Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU and Kansas make up the second pool.
“We are very appreciative of the consideration by the participating teams and the Big 12 Conference,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said in a statement. “We encouraged and supported the decision to play the championship in a format comfortable to the Big 12.”
Burda said local leaders initially recommended playing the tournament as originally scheduled, but that Big 12 athletic directors were more comfortable with a one-day delay.
“Most of them didn't get in until late last night,” Burda said of the eight teams. “It's one thing when you hear about a tornado and the destruction and devastation, and it's another thing when you see it and experience it.
“I think once people experienced and saw the devastation, it would've been a challenge for them to get their minds in a baseball state and start playing right away.”
BIG 12 ANNOUNCES POSTSEASON HONORS
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State each placed two players on the coaches' All-Big 12 first team, and four players each on the second team.
The conference announced its postseason honors Tuesday.
OU first baseman Matt Oberste and pitcher Jonathan Gray were both unanimous selections, and OSU right fielder Zach Fish and pitcher Vince Wheeland joined them on the first team.
The Cowboys' Tanner Krietemeier, Victor Romero, Randy McCurry and Jason Hursh were second-team selections, along with OU's Craig Aiken, Max White, Dillon Overton and Jacob Evans.
Kansas State took home four of the league's individual honors. Junior Ross Kivett was Player of the Year, pitcher Jake Matthys was Freshman of the Year, Brad Hill was named Coach of the Year, and junior outfielder Jared King shared Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors with TCU's Jantzen Witte.
West Virginia sophomore Harrison Musgrave earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors, and Kansas junior pitcher Jordan Piche was Newcomer of the Year.
DISHMAN GIVES OU BRIEF SCARE
Oklahoma senior reserve Dusty Dishman lost his cellphone when the Sooners played at Kansas State, so coaches were naturally worried when they couldn't reach him during Monday's storm.
“What happened is he had gone to the north side of Oklahoma City,” said OU coach Sunny Golloway. “He got stuck in traffic. He had no phone. He's probably going to get chewed out for not stopping and calling.
“But I'm talking to his parents in Texas and we don't know where he is. His roommate hadn't talked to him all day. It was a scary situation, just not knowing where he was. He finally showed back up on campus at 10:30. We were relieved about that. That, to us, was very alarming.”