Verdigris baseball continued its dominance over Class 3A on Saturday.
The Cardinals topped Kansas 2-0 to win a fourth consecutive state title at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Verdigris scored two runs in the first and starter Gabe Brown did the rest. The sophomore lefty tossed a complete game — surrendering four hits, striking out five, and walking none.
“It was a heck of an experience,” Brown said. “My off-speed stuff was working and I kept my fastball down. It’s a great feeling. Nothing like I’ve ever felt before.”
Things got tense in the bottom of the seventh as Kansas put runners on the corners with two outs and Casey Armbrister at the plate as the winning run.
But Brown induced a harmless groundball from Armbrister to shortstop Petyon Battenfield, who stepped on second for the game-clinching out.
Catcher Riley Keizor had two hits for Verdigris, including a first-inning double down the right-field line to score Battenfield. Keizor scored later in the inning on a passed ball.
Third baseman and cleanup hitter Ryan Skalnik led the way all season as the Cardinals’ only senior.
“These guys are like my family,” Skalnik said. “We’ve become so close and it’s been a pleasure. Just a heck of a ride and I couldn’t ask for a better group to do it with.”
Saturday’s victory was vintage Verdigris (31-6), which has become known for stout defense and having a slew of capable arms. It was the Cardinals’ 12th shutout of the season.
“The first two games of this state tournament were weird because they were like shootouts for us,” said Skalnik of Verdigris’ 5-3 win over Chandler and 8-3 win over Vian. “But today, Gabe Brown absolutely shoved. It was just unbelievable. We played Kansas once before and we threw him the last inning. He had them off balance, so we decided to let him have this game and he showed up.”
Logan Blaine had three of Kansas’ (32-5) four hits, all of which were singles.
The Verdigris girls’ soccer team also took home a fourth-straight state title on Saturday in Tulsa just moments after the school’s victory on the diamond.