Bob Forrest Guest Sports Writer
The Ada News
The addition of Ada to an already strong field and an opportunity to showcase Byng’s newly renovated baseball and softball facility should provide some added zip to this year’s Hill-Prescott Memorial Tournament.
Already established as the area’s premier playoff prep for schools in Classes 2A through 4A, the Hill-Prescott has drawn one of its deepest fields ever in 2012. The host Pirates, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, are the top seed, but they figure to face tough tests from ranked teams from Ada (No. 11 in 4A), Latta (No. 4 in 2A), Sulphur (No. 11 in 3A), Coalgate (No. 19 in 3A) and from an unranked but improving Seminole squad.
“It’s a good field,” Byng coach Shawn Streater said Monday. “We’ll have to play well just to make the finals, much less win it.”
Streater’s club spent March on the road while construction continued on Stokes Field and on Bobby Johns Field, the home of the Byng softball team. The Pirates (19-3) played just their second home game of the season Tuesday night and will face Glenpool to open the tournament at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Thursday will be only our third home game all year,” Streater said. “The boys are excited to get to play on the field. They’re going to let school out (for the game), there should be a lot of fans and a lot of excitement.
“(Glenpool) is a tough team,” he said. “They play in the Tulsa area where there are a lot of good teams. Their record probably isn’t what they want, but they play a lot of 5A and 6A teams.”
After starting the season with an eight-game winning streak that includes victories over Latta and then-Class 4A No. 2 Anadarko in a three-way at Latta, Pirates went 2-1 on a trip to Florida during which their pitching staff didn’t give up an earned run in three games. But losses to Tecumseh at the McLoud Tournament and to the host Wolves at the Shawnee Shootout slowed their momentum; in fact, Byng was outscored and outhit despite winning two of three pool play contests at Shawnee.
The Pirates came back to beat 2A No. 3 Silo, 6-1, on Friday, and Streater said he is looking for his club to build some momentum heading into a home district showdown with Pauls Valley next week to open the 4A playoffs.
“We’ve been swinging the bats better than we did a couple of weeks before, but we’ve still got a lot of things we can improve on,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to improve this week. Playing three games in three days helps us for the playoffs, because we have to win two out of three at your regional, because you have to win three to qualify for state, and at state you have to win three in a row.
“When you’re a week away from the playoffs starting, you want to start peaking and doing things right and make sure everybody is on the same page,” Streater added. “It’s important to get some momentum going that we can carry into the playoffs and make a run. Once the playoffs start, everybody is 0-0, and anybody can get beat if they don’t play well.”
In addition to the Byng-Glenpool contest, Thursday’s schedule includes Ada-Coalgate at 3 p.m., Sulphur-McLoud at 5:30 and Latta-Seminole at 8 p.m. Semifinals will be played at 5 p.m. and 7:30 Friday. The championship game will be played at 5 p.m. Saturday and will be preceded by the consolation championship at noon and the third-place game at 2:30 p.m.