A week ago, Carl Albert's pitching staff could hardly get the ball into the strike zone.
Over the past week, in district games against Ardmore and in five games at the Bill Tipton Tournament, the Titans' pitchers came alive.
In the tournament, which Carl Albert won with a 20-8 win over Westmoore on Saturday, the Titans got four complete games.
“Sometimes, one day or one start makes a lot of difference,” Carl Albert coach Wayne Dozier said. “Sometimes one guy goes out and has a good game and that gets everything turned around.”
Carl Albert starts this week with a 23-3 record. The Titans will face Del City in district play Monday and Tuesday before traveling to McAlester for the 5A Shootout to close the week.
The field features the top three teams in the class — No. 1 Carl Albert, No. 2 Claremore and No. 3 Chickasha — as well as seven other top 17 teams.
“We love it,” Dozier said. “We'll get to play some of those teams and watch some others a little bit more.”
While the Titans are at the top of 5A, Dozier said the class is wide open.
“I think there's probably 10-12 teams that may be pretty close to each other from what we've seen and what we hear. There are three or four in the other West district.”
One of those four — No. 11 Shawnee — will also be at McAlester.
The others — No. 4 Deer Creek, No. 6 McGuinness and No. 7 Guthrie — will be playing in the BSN Sports/Pro Nine Classic hosted by Deer Creek.
Deer Creek's key recently has also been pitching.
“We don't have an upper-level guy like Michael Fulmer like we've had in the past, but we feel like we've got about eight guys that we don't have any problem running out there,” Antlers coach Ron Moore said.
A big part of that group has been Michael Brinska.
“I don't know how many people I told last year that this guy had the best stuff on our staff,” Moore said. “He just didn't throw enough strikes for us.”
Brinska has found the zone this year, but more importantly he's found confidence.
“That's been the biggest thing, just knowing that, ‘Hey, my stuff's good enough to win every time I go out there,'” Moore said.