TUPATALK: Mid-January prognosis promising for several area prep basketball teams

·5 min read

The high school basketball season feels as if its come a long ways — but half of it still remains as teams move into mid-January.

Our area is blessed with several really good teams, both on the boys’ and girls’ sides.

Wesleyan Christian and boys and Nowata boys last week won their tournament championships, while several local squads played for first or third places.

The journey ahead appears compelling. I’m happy the Dewey boys’ team has left last year far behind in the dust and is trying to climb to a higher level, maintain it and keep getting better.

I’m confident the Bartlesville girls are going to break through to claim wins that have eluded them in some close games.

This isn’t meant to be an analysis of all the teams, but we’ll be looking closer at many of them.

Blast from the past

A promising young catcher named Mickey Mantle and the Independence Yankees invaded Bartlesville Municipal Stadium in June 1949 for a three-game set in ta Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League game. The KOM was a professional baseball, Class D league.

Mantle, called ‘The Commerce Comet,’ hit .333 in the series (3-for-9) with a triple and double, but the Bartlesville Pirates won two-out-of-three against the league leading team. The Pirates won the first two games, 18-2 and 9-6, but the Yankees prevented the sweep with a 15-2 series-finale win, led by Mantle’s four RBIs.

The Pirates’ Harry Neighbors actually outshone Mantle in at least one game in the series. Neighbors hit two homers in the middle game.

Within two years, Mantle would be playing for the New York Yankees.

While the Bartlesville Pirates dominated sports coverage in early June 1949 in the newly-merged Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise (created by the bringing together of The Daily Enterprise and the Morning Examiner), there was plenty of other local news.

Assistant City Manager Don Purington encouraged residents “not to mix garbage with other trash in order to speed up collections. Garbage collectors are human too, he said, and don’t fancy garbage mixed with trash.”

Purington advised residents to get separate containers for garbage and trash.

He encouraged cooperation because of the high cost for refuse pick-up (five-and-a-half-cents per minute).

Following is other news for the early-June period in 1949:

Sports news,

early June 1949

On June 4, the Chanute Athletics beat the Pirates in 11 innings, 11-8.

Charles LaGrace led the Athletics in the 11th with a lead-off double. He scored what would be the winning run on Buddy Ware’s single.

Pirate relief pitcher Bob Pinard was hung with the loss.

The setback spoiled the Pirates’ ninth-inning comeback, when Pete Maropis singled home Rolf Mohler to tie the game, 8-8.

The Pirates left 16 baserunners stranded, including leaving the bags full in three different innings.

Bill Paine started on the hill for the Pirates, but was relieved by Mohler, who was relieved by Paine.

The Pirates’ Trust Scotten was 2-for-5 with three runs. Maropis and Neil Huff also had a pair of hits each.

The next night, the Pirates quadrupled Chanute, 8-2, sparked by Maropis’ two-run homer.

The Pirate defensive combination of Sonny Catalano, Huff and Cal Frazer also turned a season-high three doubleplays.

Bob Wheeler and Paine took turns pitching for the Pirates.

Maropis and Frazer both had three hits in the game.

On June 7, the Iola Indians’ pitcher Bill Creech struck out 17 Pirates while scattering seven hits. Iola won, 4-2.

The bespeckled Creech outdueled Pirate pitcher Ed McLish.

Frazer singled home Maropis for one of Bartlesville’s runs. Huff drove home Scotten for the other.

As of June 7, Bartlesville was in the middle of the KOM Standings.

Independence led the league at 19-11 followed by Iola at 18-11, Chanute at 17-13, Carthage at 13-13, Bartlesville at 14-14, Ponca City at 16-16, Pittsburg at 10-19 and Miami at 10-20.

While the Pirates were making big news in Bartlesville, a pair of Bartlesville prospects were creating a lot of noise in Stillwater.

Frankie Kempa and Bill ‘Red’ Hutchinson had led the Oklahoma A&M baseball program in 1949 to its best regular-season record in 50 years, 20-3.

The pair had helped Oklahoma A&M win the Missouri Valley Conference and put the team into the NCAA Midwestern District championship game against the Big Seven Conference champion, Kansas.

Kempa was hitting .402 (35-of-87) with two home runs and 34 runs. Hutchinson had a 6-0 record as a pitcher that season and was undefeated in two campaigns with the team.

Oklahoma A&M went on to crush Kansas in the district championship on June 9, 12-2, advancing the team to the NCAA Regionals. It was just the fifth year of the NCAA baseball playoffs.

In that June 9 game, Kempa was 1-for-4 with a run.

In city softball play, Crystal Creamery was undefeated as of June 3.

The team was led by catcher Red Hutchinson, who was batting .600. He had gone 7-for-8 in a series against the Oilers.

The Creamery pitching staff included Paul Snyder, Cleo Harris and Don Calnan.

On June 5, it was reported J.C. Nett led a filed of 145 golfers with a 77 at the Sunset course. Jim Evans and Jeff Conaster were next with 78’s.

The Bartlesville Tennis Association moved into first place in the Tri-State League with a nearly-perfect win against Claremore.

The BTA’s No. 1 singles Frank Pierce downed Claremore’s Dud Kisner, 6-2, 6-3.

The BTA’s lone setback in the match was at No. 1 doubles, where Pierce and Jim Roach lost, 2-6, 6-8.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: TupaTalk: Basketball season well along

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