Proving they’re no flash in the pan, the Washington Warriors went back-to-back as State Champions Saturday after defeating Cascia Hall 10-7.
They have firmly established themselves as a program.
The Warriors opened the State tournament against Victory Christian at Seminole State Junior College on Thursday.
They defeated the Conquerors 2-1 on the strong arm of Marlon Moore.
The junior righty struck out five batters in a complete game.
“Every inning we handed the baseball to Marlon was good for us,” said Warrior Head Coach Jeff Kulbeth. “Marlon didn’t back down.”
Moore was having himself a day.
Not only was he dealing on the pitcher’s mound, he was a terror at the plate as well.
Moore’s home run in the bottom of the third inning tied the game at one apiece.
Later, in the fifth inning, he doubled and knocked in Sutton Moore and the Warriors took the lead for good.
Marlon Moore knocked in the Warriors’ only two runs of the day.
Victory Christian’s lone run came in the first inning.
The defense playing behind Moore was equally impressive.
“I loved the way we were playing defensively,” Kulbeth said. “And I can’t say enough about what Kane Springer does behind the plate. He calls every pitch. People don’t understand how big that is.”
Junior Tristin Babbitt put together another fantastic day on the mound against Salina, striking out eight batters in a complete-game shutout.
“It was an incredible performance on the mound,” Kulbeth said. “He was really good out there.”
In his last three outings, Babbitt shut out Salina, had a no-hitter against Jones and went head-to-head with Class 4A champion Tuttle in a 3-2 loss.
“We were in great shape pitching-wise after the game,” Kulbeth said. “After two outings we got to the finals and had all our pitching, except for two starters.”
Washington started the game with offensive fireworks.
“The Sutton Moore home run was a great way to start the game,” Kulbeth said. “We didn’t know at the time but that was the game winner.”
It was also the final homer in a record breaking year for the Warriors.
They hit 58 home runs this season, which set a school record.
The finals against Cascia Hall were played Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
“It was a neat experience for our guys to play at Bricktown,” Kulbeth said. “They had incredible hospitality.”
Kade Norman got the nod on the bump to start the game.
Nate Roberts came on in relief for 3 2/3 innings.
Cam Bates was called on to close the game out in one of the most pressurized moments of the season.
With the bases juiced and Cascia Hall’s four hole batter at the plate Bates entered the game in the sixth inning.
“I had talked to Cam in the fourth or fifth inning and asked him how he felt,” Kulbeth said. “He said ‘I’m ready’ and I looked into his eyes and I already knew what was in his heart. He’d only thrown nine innings all year and he goes out there into the biggest moment he could have gone in to.”
After getting the Warriors out of the jam, Bates would strike out the side in the final inning.
Offensively, Washington opened the game with a four-run first inning. They followed that up with a seven-run second.
“We started off on fire,” Kulbeth said.
Bates was 2-3 and scored two runs on the day. Marlon Moore went 2-4 and had an RBI.
Jake Wells was 1-3 with a pair of ribbies.
The ball club was dazzling at the plate all season and finished with a .353 team batting average.
Washington will graduate four seniors this year – Kane Springer, Cam Bates, Sutton Moore, Jake Wells and Gage Goode.
“It’s so special going back-to-back and knowing last year was not a fluke,” Kulbeth said. “Sometimes when you win one it’s a one-time deal. Hopefully by us winning back-to-back it shows it’s more than just individuals and there’s more meaning to the program. I’m really thankful for the kids and the staff.”
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