Regional baseball previewed: Two teams lead the pack, but another is the most durable

Mike Kays, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.
·7 min read

May 5—There may be better teams, or teams with better shots, among the area teams going to regionals this year.

But there's no team more durable than Haskell's Haymakers.

All season long, the Haymakers have been playing ironman ball, sporting a nine-man roster from start to now.

That's nine players on the field and as the pitcher gazes around, he's also looking at the other arms that make up the Haymakers' rotation.

They've managed.

"I've coached 35 years and this is the both the toughest and most improved team I've been around from beginning to now," said Frank Marsaln, who will call it a career after this campaign. "Coming in we had five kids that had not played a high school game."

One of those, Fernando Gonzales, sports a .485 average to lead the team. Brannon Westmoreland is next at .421. He heads the pitching staff with a 5-1 mark in 37 innings with 17 walks and 47 strikeouts — and only one earned run, giving him a 0.19 ERA.

Peter Turner, the Haymakers' other .400 hitter, is among a group including Westmoreland, Gonzales, Lane Mann and Lucas King with at least 10 innings of work on the mound.

Westmoreland, Mann and Turner are the most experienced kids.

"We were 4-1 last year with seven seniors that I had gotten out of football to focus on coaching because I thought we'd have a special year, and we were 4-1 before COVID shut us down," said Marsaln. "I've played in state and coached in state and the progress this group has made together beats any of those others."

The Haymakers are 14-8 and the Silo Regional will be their first tournament all season.

"We had kids who do speech and debate and we couldn't work around that to do that," Marsaln said.

He's been lucky to have avoided injuries or COVID. Haskell shut down its football season early due to COVID policy.

"We had one game where we had a little altercation with an umpire in a game we won but we had to finish with eight," Marsaln said. "I've had to get junior high kids to go chase foul balls because there's no one on the bench to tell that too."

His replacement will get them all back next year — and perhaps, hopefully, a few add-ons. But first it's a trip to Silo, which has won the last three state titles, excluding the non-season in 2020 — and five since 2013 along with two fall titles in that span.

"These kids are going to have more success in the coming years, but I want them to see and be a part of that experience," Marsaln said. "Silo's the best baseball team in Oklahoma."

First up on Thursday, Haskell takes on Preston (25-5). Quapaw (18-9) is the matchup for the hosts (33-2). The Haymakers have yet to see any of these squads. The double-elimination tournament continues through Saturday, as do all the regionals.

Up first

It all starts though today for one.

Muskogee (2-14), which in 6A did not have a bi-district round, goes to Edmond Memorial (24-8) where they'll play the hosts. Enid (22-11) and Jenks (26-9) are also in the regional. are also in the regional. The Roughers have faced only Jenks, losing twice.

Best bets?

Look no further than Fort Gibson (29-3) and Oktaha (27-10). Both won their districts, 4A-6 and 2A-5, and will host their own regionals.

After a bi-district bye, the Tigers on the east side of the Arkansas River will host Checotah (13-19), Stigler (28-9) and Cleveland (15-11), first taking on Checotah on Thursday. Their losses have come to 21-7 Texas 4A Burkburnett, Texas, Sallisaw and Red Oak, a team they beat earlier in the year in the Fort Gibson tournament. Checotah was fifth in 4A-6 but beat Miami in two games in bi-district. They've yet to see any of the regional teams.

Oktaha (27-10) gets Wilburton (12-16), Stroud (14-14) and Porter (21-15) in its 2A regional, which it also is playing host to. The Tigers beat Wilburton 13-0 in the Coal Mining Classic on April 8, a rarity on Oktaha's non-district schedule. They're 7-9 against teams 4A or higher. They're 20-0 against all of 2A. Porter, which looms as a winner's bracket matchup, has seen none of these squads.

Also in the mix

Back to 4A, Hilldale (24-7), runner-up behind Fort Gibson in 4A-6, goes to Poteau and takes on Grove (23-12). Poteau (24-11) plays Perkins-Tryon (16-14). The Hornets have faced none of these teams.

Wagoner (15-13), third in 4A-6 and a bi-district winner against Bristow, is at Berryhill and will face Oologah (20-11) first. Berryhill (21-13) takes on Broken Bow (16-14). Wagoner lost to Oologah 21-6 on April 9.

Eufaula is at the 3A regional at Adair. The Ironheads (15-11) were runner-up to Holland Hall in 3A-8 and got a bi-district bye. In unfamiliar territory with all three opponents, they face Sperry (19-12) and are joined by Adair (25-8) and Roland (6-10).

The schedule:

Prep regional glance

Class 6A

At Edmond Memorial

Wednesday's Games

G1: Edmond Memorial vs. Muskogee, 11 a.m.

G2: Enid vs. Jenks, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

Class 4A

At Fort Gibson

Thursday's Games

G1: Fort Gibson vs. Checotah, 11 a.m.

G2: Cleveland vs. Stigler, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

At Poteau

Thursday's Games

G1: Poteau vs. Perkins-Tryon, 11 a.m.

G2: Grove vs. Hilldale, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

At Berryhill

Thursday's Games

G1: Berryhill vs. Broken Bow, 11 a.m.

G2: Wagoner vs. Oologah, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

Class 3A

at Adair

Thursday's Games

G1: Adair vs. Roland, 11 a.m.

G2: Sperry vs. Eufaula, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

Class 2A

At Oktaha

Thursday's Games

G1: Oktaha vs. Wilburton, 11 a.m.

G2: Stroud vs. Porter, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, noon

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 2 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.

At Silo

Thursday's Games

G1: Silo vs. Quapaw, 11 a.m.

G2: Haskell vs. Preston, 1:30 p.m.

G3: Winners 1 and 2, 4 p.m.

G4: Losers 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Games

G5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.

G6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Winner 6 vs. Loser 6, if first loss, 2 p.m.