EDMOND – Verdigris will play for its fourth consecutive Class 3A state baseball championship, while Kansas will make its first ever appearance in a title game.
That contrast in experience will be on display at 2 p.m. Saturday when the Cardinals and Comets meet at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Verdigris 8, Vian 3
In this rematch of last year’s title game, Vian led 3-1 after four innings thanks to both the arm and bat of junior left-hander A.J. Rodriguez, who had three RBIs and hadn’t allowed an earned run. From there, things slowly unraveled for the Wolverines.
Verdigris loaded the bases in each of the last three innings, with increased productivity in each frame. The Cardinals scored one in the fifth on a single by Reece Phillips, then they went ahead with two runs in the sixth. Mitch Hammack tied it with a single to center, and the go-ahead run scored on an error.
Verdigris opened it up with four runs in the seventh, two scoring on a single by Riley Keizor. Kale Keith threw three hitless innings in relief of starter Peyton Battenfield to get the win.
Kansas 6, Marlow 1
As soon as Marlow left-hander Brady Melton started his delivery, Kansas senior Austin Hunt sprinted home. Hunt slid into the plate before the pitch arrived, giving the Comets a 3-0 lead that was more than enough for Kansas right-hander Shayne Warren to hold.
Warren threw a complete-game four-hitter, walking two and striking out four while aiding his cause with an RBI single in the fifth. Although Marlow scored a run on a bloop double by senior Kelby Richardson in the first and put at least one man on base in each of the next five innings, the junior consistently pitched out of trouble.
With two on and one out in the top of the first, Hunt lined a triple to dead center, scoring the first two runs of the game. His theft of home was one of three steals for the senior center fielder, who also had an RBI single in the third.