The Duncan Banner
No. 4 Marlow cruised its way into a Class 3A state tournament berth by winning 11-1 versus No. 20 Sulphur on Friday.
The Outlaws (27-10) dominated every facet of the game, receiving great pitching, timely hitting and outstanding fielding to win its third straight regional tournament.
It was a perfect situation for coach Jeff Brewer as the Outlaws had little trouble winning three games in a row.
“It worked out great,” Brewer said. “We hit the ball in situations where we needed to. We pitched it well and pieced our pitching together like we were supposed to. A lot of guys contributed to the win.”
Junior Brady Melton had two extra base hits, including the walk-off double to win, and pitched two shutout innings in relief. Before Melton’s final at bat, Sulphur intentionally walked senior Austin Forsythe to load the bases for him.
“I was thinking ‘This is mine, I’ve got it.’” Melton said. “It’s just another at bat. Let’s hit a single and end this thing.”
Melton has made significant improvement as one of the main relief pitchers for Marlow. Brewer felt the key to his success Friday was his ability to mix up his pitches. Last year Melton threw less than 10 innings, but this year he has developed into one of the first guys Brewer calls when the starter needs help.
“I’ve just been relaxed on the mound this year, not stressed just pitching,” Melton said. “I started out well. Then I went kind of down a little bit. Coming back for the regionals and throwing the way I did feels good.”
The middle of the lineup dominated in Friday’s game as four-hole hitter Forsythe, five-hole Melton and six-hole Meshell got on base all 11 plate appearances.
“The middle of the lineup gets on and we forced them to make mistakes,” Brewer said. “I’ve got a lot of guys that can do more than just one thing, hit. They can bunt. They can run and that’s a testament to the kids. They get the credit for it, because they put in the work.”
On Monday the state bracket is announced. The Outlaws hope they don’t draw defending-state champion Verdigris for a potential semifinal. Initially ranked in the top three this season, Marlow dropped down to No. 4. It has to work its way back to avoid Verdigris until the final.
Brewer said he’s anxious to see the bracket unveiled.
“It looks like Verdigris is sitting in the drivers seat of their regional,” Brewer said. “We’re looking to get the three seed to draw the sixth seed, but there’s some non-ranked teams that are going to slide in there and push some teams up.”