EDMOND — Verdigris senior Blake Battenfield suffered through the worst batting practice of his season Saturday morning.
But once the game started, that didn't matter as Battenfield went 4 for 4 and then pitched three scoreless relief innings to lift the top-ranked Cardinals past second-ranked Vian 7-1 at Edmond Santa Fe for their third straight Class 3A baseball championship.
“I couldn't tell you, but for some reason I could not hit the ball this morning,” Battenfield said. “I was just thinking to myself, ‘I can't try to do too much. I've got to make contact and make plays.' And I found holes.”
Battenfield, who has signed with Oklahoma State, doubled twice and scored two runs, both of which came in Verdigris' late offensive charge.
His presence on the mound, though, helped seal the victory.
The tall right-hander entered the game in the fifth inning, just after the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead, and struck out two while allowing three hits over the next three innings.
However, Verdigris coach Brian Keith nearly didn't put Battenfield in the game after he struck out 15 in Thursday's quarterfinal win over Oklahoma Christian School.
But the game plan called for it, and Battenfield wanted the ball.
“Started my No. 3 (J.W. Owens) and we had a pretty good game plan going in, and if we execute it we're going to be fine,” Keith said. “The plan was to get through four and we're going to bring Blake in.