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Class 3A baseball: Atoka, Marlow to meet in state championship

EDMOND – Jase Mann rollicked into second base as his Atoka teammates were spilling out of the dugout. Looking in their direction, Mann picked up two handfuls of dirt and sprinkled one over the other as the wind blew into right field.

"He was cooking," Atoka senior Coby Grimsley said with a smile.

All of the Wampus Cats had a hand in the comeback pot — not just in a 9-7 win against Kingston in the Class 3A state semifinals at Edmond Memorial Field on Friday, but in Atoka resurrecting its baseball program.

The top-ranked Wampus Cats (29-5) advanced to face No. 2 Marlow (27-7) in the state championship game Saturday at 12:15 p.m. at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

Atoka had not made the state tournament in 19 years. Now, it’s young group — fielding just two seniors in Eastern Oklahoma State College signees Grimsley and Brenton Beck — has a chance to make history.

The Wampus Cats overcame a two-run deficit in its final at-bat, blasting past Kingston with five runs in the decisive seventh inning.

Kingston led 7-4, but two errors and a walk loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. Atoka’s Case Roberson and Tyson Barrett each came through with a two-run single, and Mann followed with the punctuation RBI double.

Grimsley was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and two RBI, then struck out three over 1 2/3 innings of relief.

"Just don’t get your head down, always have your head up, and crazy things can happen," Beck said.

It’s a long way from where Atoka was even four years ago.

Beck transferred in as an eighth grader from Tushka, but Grimsley didn’t win a single game in seventh- or eighth-grade ball. Head coach Dewayne Dale returned to the program from Tushka to coach the sons of the men he led to the state tournament in his first stint as Atoka coach two decades ago.

"The program was in pretty rough shape," Dale said. "It’s just been fun to see the movement from our junior high level all the way up to here."

Marlow 15, Washington 3

EDMOND – Washington had no match for Marlow's aggressiveness on the base paths Friday in the Class 3A state semifinals.

Marlow (27-7) used its baserunning prowess to pressure the Warriors (22-5) into seven errors.

The Outlaws found fortune with their bats, too, lacing 15 hits into open spaces, providing plenty of ammunition for starting pitcher Houston Davis.

Davis tossed a complete game with three strikeouts and drove in five runs.

Devin Orr homered and Harrison Keeler had two hits for Washington. Marlow’s Brennan Morgan drove in three runs, and Nate Herchock and Will Bergner each had two RBI for the Outlaws.

Related Photos
<strong>Atoka's Trent Yarbrough slides into home during the Class 3A baseball state tournament game against Kingston on Friday at Edmond Memorial High School. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Atoka's Trent Yarbrough slides into home during the Class 3A baseball state tournament game against Kingston on Friday at Edmond Memorial High School. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ca3a139e338bdcd59088fbc97a30bcc8.jpg" alt="Photo - Atoka's Trent Yarbrough slides into home during the Class 3A baseball state tournament game against Kingston on Friday at Edmond Memorial High School. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] " title=" Atoka's Trent Yarbrough slides into home during the Class 3A baseball state tournament game against Kingston on Friday at Edmond Memorial High School. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Atoka's Trent Yarbrough slides into home during the Class 3A baseball state tournament game against Kingston on Friday at Edmond Memorial High School. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Erik Horne

Erik Horne is in his fourth season on the Thunder beat. Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013 following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The... Read more ›

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