After his team earned a berth in the Class A fall state baseball tournament, Evan Anderson had more work to do.
Instead of relaxing last weekend, Anderson joined Team Oklahoma in Grand Prairie, Texas, for the Oakley All-American Battle of the Borders.
Anderson helped Oklahoma win the tournament on Sunday with a win over Louisiana.
Just as important, though, was the preparation the Oakley tournament provided for this week's state meet.
The state tournament begins Thursday with No. 1-ranked Dale facing No. 12 Wister at 1:30 p.m. at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
“Seeing the pitching down there will definitely help,” Anderson said. “The guys down there were throwing quite a bit better than what we're going to see this weekend.”
While in Texas for the Oakley tournament, one of Anderson's teammates was Drew Ward of Leedey. Ward will play in the Class B state tournament this weekend, starting 4 p.m. Thursday against Olustee at Edmond Memorial.
Anderson didn't pitch during the Battle of the Borders Tournament. He played first base instead, resting an arm that helped Dale reach the state tournament. But Anderson will be a critical piece on the mound if Dale is to win its third consecutive state tournament.
Anderson is 6-1 with 89 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched this fall. He's allowed just 12 hits.
“I'm just trying to keep it simple right now on the mound,” Anderson said. “I haven't made any big changes since the spring.”
Anderson didn't make any major adjustments at the plate, either, although a lineup switch did plenty to change Anderson's season.
After hitting in the middle of the order during the Pirates' 2011 fall and 2012 spring championship runs, Anderson moved into the leadoff spot this season.
As a result, Anderson's RBI total was down, but he has scored more runs this year.
“I don't get to hit with runners in scoring position much at all now,” Anderson said. “But I think I'm seeing better pitches there. If they pitch around me, for sure one run's going to score if not more. It makes them come after you.”
The Ole Miss commit is likely to be drafted as a pitcher after the spring season, but Anderson said he's trying not to concern himself with that too much right now.
“I've talked to some scouts a bit, but I'm not going to worry about that right now,” Anderson said. “I'm just trying to finish my senior season and win a couple more titles.”
State Tournament Players to Watch
Kaden Hardzog, Sterling
Hardzog was a force in getting a junior-laden team to state in the spring and has the Tigers back again.
Kason Krob, Colbert
Krob struck out 13 in a complete-game victory over Hydro-Eakly to send the Leopards to state.
Cullen Mack, Rattan
The senior is hitting .510 with nine home runs.
Dylan Fazekas, Red Oak
Fazekas has been a staple in the Red Oak lineup during their recent streak of state tourney appearances.
Dillion Lawrence, Stuart
Hitting .434 with six home runs and 34 RBIs while also contributing on the mound.
Drew Ward, Leedey
One of the top prospects nationally for the 2014 class, Ward is hitting better than .600.