Heartland Classic: Carl Albert's Gavin LaValley will see familiar faces with Team Oklahoma

In this year's Heartland Classic, which begins Tuesday, there's hardly anyone on Team Oklahoma that Gavin LaValley doesn't know. Justin McGregor and Stevie Thompson, both juniors like LaValley and both Titans as well, made the team.
by Ryan Aber Published: June 16, 2013
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photo - CLASS 5A HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL / STATE TOURNAMENT: Carl Albert's Gavin Lavalley pitches during the 5A high school baseball state championship tournament at Edmond Memorial High School in Edmond, Okla.,  Friday, May 10, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
CLASS 5A HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL / STATE TOURNAMENT: Carl Albert's Gavin Lavalley pitches during the 5A high school baseball state championship tournament at Edmond Memorial High School in Edmond, Okla., Friday, May 10, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Carl Albert's Gavin LaValley hardly new anyone last year when he played in the Heartland Classic.

In this year's tournament, which begins Tuesday at three sites, there's hardly anyone on Team Oklahoma that the corner infielder doesn't know. Justin McGregor and Stevie Thompson, both juniors like LaValley and both Titans as well, made the team.

“It was a lot of fun but I didn't know many of the guys,” LaValley said. “This year, if I'm playing first and Justin's playing third, we played with each other every day.”

It's not just McGregor and Thompson, though. LaValley has played with Edmond Santa Fe's Quin Walbergh, Red Oak's Dylan Fazekas and several other teammates.

For McGregor, playing in the tournament formerly known as the Sunbelt Classic is a chance to continue the progress he made during his junior season.

Coming off Tommy John surgery the year before, McGregor was the Titans' closer, allowing no runs in 9 2/3 innings while also hitting .369 and driving in 41 runs, helping Carl Albert to a second consecutive Class 5A title.

“I'm hoping to be one of the starters next season,” McGregor said of his hope to move into the rotation. “Everything to this point has just been getting stronger and I finally feel like I'm back to 100 percent. It's just one of those things that you just have to trust that the surgery was successful.”

For LaValley, he hopes playing in the tournament is a chance to see some hittable pitches.

He played in last week's Junior Sunbelt and saw one inside pitch.

“I hit it out and I didn't get another one,” LaValley said. “Not getting my favorite pitches, yeah, it's frustrating. I don't like it but I've got to adjust to what they give me. I can't really do much about it.”

LaValley did a good job of that in the spring, hitting .477 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. More than half of his home runs went to the opposite field.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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Heartland Classic Schedule

Tuesday

At Norman

Oklahoma vs. Maryland, 3:30 p.m.

Oklahoma vs. Ohio, 7 p.m.

At Norman North

Ohio vs. Colorado, 3:30 p.m.

Maryland vs. Georgia, 7 p.m.

At Southmoore

Georgia vs. Texas, noon

Texas vs. Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.

Colorado vs. Arkansas, 7 p.m.

Wednesday

At Norman

Colorado vs. Georgia, 11 a.m.

Arkansas vs. Maryland, 2:30 p.m.

At Norman North

Maryland vs. Texas, 10 a.m.

Texas vs. Ohio, 1 p.m.

Ohio vs. Georgia, 4 p.m.

At Southmoore

Arkansas vs. Oklahoma, 11 a.m.

Oklahoma vs. Colorado, 2:30 p.m.

Thursday

At Norman

Colorado vs. Texas, 12:30 p.m.

Arkansas vs. Ohio, 4 p.m.

At Norman North

Georgia vs. Arkansas, noon

Georgia vs. Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m.

At Southmoore

Ohio vs. Maryland, 12:30 p.m.

Maryland vs. Colorado, 4 p.m.

Friday

Game 1: Second place vs. Seventh place, 3:30 p.m. at Norman

Game 2: Third place vs. Sixth place, 3:30 p.m. at Norman North

Game 3: Fourth place vs. Fifth place, 3:30 p.m. at Southmoore

Game 4: First place vs. Game 3 winner, 7 p.m. at Southmoore

Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m. at Norman North

Saturday

At Norman

Third-Place

Game 6: Game 4 loser vs. Game 5 loser, noon

Championship

Game 7: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 3:30 p.m.

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