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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Oran focused on winning Class 1, District 2 title

Sunday, May 18, 2003

(Photo)
Tyler Cookson leads Oran with 10 home runs and is batting .450.
ORAN --

The Class 1 District 2 baseball tournament will take place this week at Oran, starting on Monday. Here is a look at each team, as seeded.

Oran has been ranked No. 1 most of the year in the Class 1 state poll and is the heavy favorite to win the district.

The Eagles have already defeated nearly every team in the district, beating No. 2 Chaffee 4-3, No. 3 Bell City 14-4, No. 4 Advance 23-0, No. 6 Scott Central 33-2 and No. 7 Delta 36-1.

"I like the way we're looking right now," said Oran head coach Mitch Wood. "We're starting to hit the ball pretty good again. I've still got some kids out with injuries, but if everybody gets healthy and we play the way we're capable of playing, I like our chances."

Oran is solid up and down the lineup, batting .408 as a team. In 18 games, they've hit 45 home runs, beating their opponents by an average score of 15 to 3.

First baseman Tyler Cookson leads the Eagles with 10 homers and carries a .450 average. Catcher Nathan Seyer has nine dingers and is batting .451. Tyler Nelson has eight homers and is batting .333.

Shortstop Ryne Wood carries a .478 average with four home runs. Leftfielder Trey Graviett has six homers and is batting .443. Centerfielder Joey Bickings has gone deep five times and carries a .388 average.

Patrick Friga is batting .500 and Matt Seyer is at .514, but both have missed several games due to injury. "This is definitely the most home runs we've ever hit," said Wood. "Right now, I'm tickled to death with our offense."

The Eagles also offer up three solid pitchers with Wood, Graviett and Nelson. Wood is 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA, Graviett is 6-1 with a 1.94 ERA, and Nelson is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.93. Oran will face the winner of an Advance-Bernie game on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

"This team went up to the final four last year and was disappointed to finish third," said Wood. "We know we've got our work cut out for us in districts, but getting back (to state) has definitely been our goal from day one."

Chaffee is the biggest threat to the top seed. The Red Devils gave Oran all it wanted earlier in the year, and enter the district playing their best baseball of the season.

"We were kind of up and down through the first 15 games of the season," said Chaffee coach Brian Horrell. "But in the last six or seven games, we've been playing pretty consistent baseball. I really like the way we're coming together."

Zac Horman is the team's ace. He is 4-3 on the year with an ERA of 3.12. Sam Burnett and Brent Thomason also pitch.

At the plate, James Reischman leads the way, batting over .400. Chaffee will face Delta in the first round on Monday at 2 p.m.

The Cubs picked up the No. 3 seed with a record of 12-4. Bell City will face Scott Central on Monday in the first round at 4 p.m., a team they beat twice earlier in the year.

"I think it's similar to last year, where we entered as the three-seed and ended up beating the two-seed," said Bell City coach Matt Asher. "I think we have a good shot again of making it to the championship game, coming out of the other side of the bracket."

The Cubs offer up two solid pitchers. Darrell Bailey is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.10 and Ben Duncan is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA. At the plate, Duncan is batting .406 with two homers and an .800 on-base percentage. First baseman Ty Brown is batting .540 with 22 RBIs and 10 doubles, and Zac McIntyre is hitting .470 with 21 RBIs.

Earlier in the year, Bell City lost to No. 1 Oran 14-2. They didn't play No. 2 Chaffee, but beat No. 4 Advance.

The Hornets are a longshot as the No. 4 seed, checking into the district with a record of 10-12. Advance will face Bernie in the first round on Monday at noon. The winner of that game will play Oran on Tuesday.

"Oran put it on us 23-0 here," said Advance coach Jim Below. "The boys aren't looking past Bernie, but they really want that matchup with Oran again."

The team's top pitcher is Eric O'Hare, who has a 4-5 record. Senior Dustin Sexton and sophomore Alex Sample also pitch.

O'Hare is also the top offensive threat, batting .430. Shortstop Jason Bahr is hitting .400, outfielder Rylan Dunivan is at .320, and first baseman Aaron Abernathy is batting .330.

Freshman DH Jeremy Limbaugh carries a .580 average in limited plate appearances.

Earlier in the year, Advance lost to No. 1 Oran and No. 3 Bell City. They beat No. 5 Bernie and No. 7 Delta.

Bernie is the No. 5 seed with a record of 5-10. The Mules will face Advance in the first round on Monday at noon. Earlier in the year, Advance beat Bernie 6-3.

The team's top pitcher is Travis Blanchard, who has a 2-2 record. Multi-sport standout Zack Dill is the team's No. 2. Blanchard also leads the offense with a .580 average.

Scott Central is the No. 6 seed with a record of 1-8. The Braves will take on Bell City in the first round on Monday at 4 p.m.

Daniel Holman is the staff ace, but James Brown picked up the team's only win this year.

Right fielder Andrew Pullen is the team's biggest offensive threat with a .490 average. Catcher Jeremy Johnson and first baseman Chris Monroe are two other top hitters on the team.

Earlier in the year, Scott Central lost to No. 1 Oran, No. 2 Chaffee and No. 3 Bell City. Their only win of the season came over Zalma.

Delta is the No. 7 seed in the tournament and will face No. 2 Chaffee in the first round on Monday at 2 p.m.

Junior hurler Tanner Baggett has gotten four of the team's five wins. The offense is led by catcher Cody Crowden, who carries a .581 average.

Baggett and Brent Menz are both hitting over .400.