The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

April 25, 2012

Wyandotte heads into playoffs with sparkling record

Kyle Baldridge, who’s in his sixth season as head baseball coach at Wyandotte High School, hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Baldridge thought the Bears could be pretty good this season based on a respectable showing in 2011 and the presence of six seniors.

The Bears enter postseason play today with a 19-1 record and a No. 14 ranking in Oklahoma Class 2A. Salina, No. 6 in Class 3A, spoiled the visiting Bears’ bid for an unbeaten regular season by claiming a 2-1 decision on Monday.

“I don’t believe any of our players has been a major surprise,” Baldridge, who’s assisted by Shawn Nading, said. “It’s been about what we expected.”

Quapaw visits Wyandotte at 4 p.m. today for the first two games in a best-of-3 district series. A third game, if necessary, will be played at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Wyandotte’s record includes two tournament championships — the Comet Division of the Mickey Mantle Classic and the Lucky ‘7’ Conference at Quapaw.

The destination for the district winners will be announced on Monday.

Wyandotte and Fairland were sent to Pocola — some 31⁄2 hours south — last season. The Bears finished 0-2 with losses to Wister and Fairland. Wister finished 31-3 overall and defeated Dale 4-2 for the 2A crown.

Baldridge’s probable batting order for today’s first game against Quapaw starts with senior left-handed pitcher Jacob Lux.

Completing the first four hitters in the likely order are sophomore shortstop Orrin Ryan, senior third baseman Scotty Rotzal and junior first baseman Andrew Douthit.

Rounding out the order are senior catcher Dalton Cummings, senior right fielder Tate Smith, junior center fielder Terry Wyland, junior second baseman Jason Larson and senior left fielder Colton McCloud.

Martin Torres is the sixth Wyandotte senior.

Lux, Rotzal, Douthit, Wyland, Larson and McCloud started for the Bears in 2011.

Lux, through 19 games, was averaging .491 on 26 of 53 with 33 runs scored, 23 RBI and 16 extra-base hits. He also had drawn 16 walks and been hit by pitches 12 times.

Averages also included Rotzal .460 with nine doubles and 20 RBI. Douthit was at .317 with 23 RBI and Smith was at .316.

Lux was 8-0 on the mound with a 0.36 earned run average. He had allowed 25 hits, struck out 107 and walked only eight in 58 innings.

Ty Essex, a sophomore right-hander, had numbers of 5-0 and a 1.89 ERA. Rotzal also was 5-0 with a 2.29 ERA.

Baldridge, who briefly assisted Troy Gray before taking over the head position, is a product of Miami High School, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Oklahoma State.

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