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Sports

March 27, 2014

Teamwork benefitting Demons

DUNCAN — The Duncan baseball players have grown closer as a team and it has made a difference on the field.

The Demons (5-3) are coming off a 5-3 win against District 2-5A rival Chickasha Tuesday’s game. It’s the first time Duncan has beaten Chickasha since coach Tim Hightower’s stint began three years ago.

Hightower said the team’s unselfishness has been the difference.

“They get along pretty well,” he said. “We’ve got a team with kids who are playing for their teammates.”

The Demon coach said it has been a process developing that teamwork the past couple of years. He likes that the players give good effort and that any of them can come through at any time.

Case in point was Tuesday’s game. There wasn’t one standout hitter, but several players who came through with clutch hits, such as Mason Rogers’ two-run triple and RBI singles from Mason Hightower and Collin Klingensmith. Junior Bryce Byford likes that the Demons don’t have just a couple of players carrying the hitting.

“I think we have a better connection as far as our jobs go,” Byford said.

Fellow junior Dylan Zawicki, who doubled in Tuesday’s game, agreed that the teamwork has improved.

“There’s not as many individuals out there as there was the last couple of years,” he said.

Duncan will look for continued improvement at a showcase hosted by Ardmore and Lone Grove. The nine-team pool play starts Thursday, with Duncan facing Dickson and Ada in Lone Grove. The Demons then face Latta Friday at Ardmore. The top eight teams play Saturday, with opponents determined based on pool placing.

Hightower plans to use the showcase to get players work in different positions and multiple pitchers on the mound. That leads to multiple lineup options for the district schedule.

“Every weekend is designed to give us different options for (district games) on Monday and Tuesday,” he said.

An additional benefit is the younger players getting more time on the field.

“The younger guys can get their feet wet for what they have to work on and what it’s like to play in a varsity game,” Byford said.

Zawicki added the showcase will be good to build the team’s confidence. That will be key as the Demons follow this weekend’s action with back-to-back games against tough district rival Lawton MacArthur early next week.

“The road to the district title won’t be easy, but it’s something we can get done,” Hightower said.

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