“All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left a cake out in the rain,
I don’t think that I can take it,
‘Cause it took so long to bake it,
And I’ll never have that recipe again.”
— Jimmy Webb
By Mike Tupa
Perhaps “never” might be too strong a word, but it appears Barnsdall High School’s baseball program had an enchanted opportunity washed away last spring in a flood of the coronavirus-related restrictions.
Panther head coach Wade Corder welcomed back a slew of talented seniors eager to stay atop the bull of success for their last rodeo.
During their first three seasons (2017-19), this combustible crew from the Class of 2020 had formed a feisty foundation for 50 wins and some impressive playoff success.
But, this group had yet to advance to state. Would they have done it in 2020?
We’ll never know.
Barnsdall got in only eight games before the state of Oklahoma shut down all the schools, which led to the cancelation of prep athletics.
The Panthers had pawed out to strong start — a 5-4 record, including four wins by shutout and a three-game winning streak to finish up.
“We were starting to get a lot better,” Corder said. “We were playing well and started playing better.”
In an 11-1 loss to Dewey, “I threw six guys with a limit of 35 pitches each,” Corder noted.
Barnsdall turned around and blanked Dewey, 8-0, in the next game; the Panthers also came away with goose-egg victories against Caney Valley, 4-0; Chelsea, 8-0; and Wyandotte, 8-0.
In their finale they outlasted Woodland, 4-3, in the championship game of the Caney Valley tourney.
The Panther offense hadn’t really geared up to max power yet prior to the lead curtain falling down.
“We were playing a lot of small ball,” Corder said. We did a lot of manufacturing for runs.”
Carson Aushwittz — who batted in the bottom third of the lineup — evolved into one of the Panthers’ top threats at the dish.
“He had a couple of big hits early in the Caney Valley tournament,” Corder said.
The biggest hook on which the Panthers hung their early success was pitching.
Veteran seniors Joe Cole and Michael Marin anchored the mound staff.
Marin threw 100-plus pitches in the one-run win against Woodland in the Caney Valley tourney, while allowing only one earned run.
“Michael was one we relied on early in the year to weather the storm,” Corder said.
First-year Panther regular Josh Weber also posed a viable throwing option for the Panthers.
“I didn’t know him a lot,” Corder said, but said Weber performed well.
Weber, Auschwitz and Keegan Marin will be Corder’s primary proven weapons in the 2021.
“We’ll also have some jayvee guys we were looking forward to try to develop this year,” he said.
An unexpected bonus for Corder going into the 2020 campaign was Bartlesville transfer player Noah Wassom — who batted in the two-hole and provided a sizable offensive boost.
Corder nurses a special affinity for the departing senors, who were freshmen when he took charge of the baseball program.
“I just grew really close to them,” he said. “I appreciate their work ethic and they’re willingness to compete day in and day out. They won a lot of baseball games for us.”
Barnsdall finished 13-10 in 2017, when those players were freshmen.
Barnsdall bolted to a 22-10 mark in 2018, when this year’s seniors were sophomores. The team galloped through the district tournament, beating their three opponents by a combined run total of 31-6. But, they fell to a mighty Ripley team, 6-2, in the single-elimination regional tournament.
In 2019, Barnsdall finished at 15-12 after struggling at the end with a 2-6 mark in its final eight games. Regent Prep swept Barnsdall in the district tourney.
One of Barnsdall’s highlights in 2019 was sweeping to the Caney Valley tourney championship.
Following are some highlights from Barnsdall’s abbreviated 2020 season:
Barnsdall 4, Caney Valley 0
Barnsdall head coach Wade Corder split pitching duties between Joe Cole, Michael Marin and Braden Kelley.
They combined on the two-hit shutout, with 10 strikeouts and two walks. They threw 114 pitches between them.
On the offensive side, Weber smashed a double and two singles and drove in one run.
Marin and Dallas McGill each recorded a RBI.
Barnsdall 8, Dewey 0
Michael Marin mashed a double and a single and drove in two runs to spearhead Barnsdall’s offense.
Braden Kelley added a double and scored twice.
Josh Weber singled, walked, scored three times and plated a run.
Joe Cole and Heath Moles also each posted a RBI.
Cole dominated on the bump, twirling a four-hitter, with no walks and six K’s.
Barnsdall 8, Chelsea 0
Joe Cole ripped a double and drove in two runs, while Keegan Marin belted a two-bagger and plated one tally.
Noah Wasson, Michael Marin and Cole each scored two runs. Wassom also stole four bases.
Braden Kelley and Josh Weber split pitching duties, combining on a no-hitter. They struck out four and allowed one walk between them.
Barnsdall 8, Wyandotte 0
Michael Marin and Josh Weber each walloped a double to spruce up the offensive voltage.
Noah Wassom, Marin, Carson Auschwitz and Carson Dildine each drove in a run.
Keegan Marin tallied two runs, while Braden Kelley, Weber, Joe Cole, Aushwitz and Bryce Shores scored one run apiece.
Joe Cole snapped off the two-hit shutout, with no walks and six strikeouts.
Barnsdall 4, Woodland 3
Joe Cole slugged a double and a single and drove in a run to energize the offense. Noah Wassom, Josh Weber, Michael Marin and Cole each scored one run. Keegan Marin recorded the team’s other RBI. Barnsdall scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to win.
Cole doubled home Michael Marin for Barnsdall’s third run, and Keegan Marin delivered a sacrifice fly to plate Cole with what would be the game winner.
Michael Marin pitched the distance, wrapping up Woodland on a seven-hitter, with 10 strikeouts and only two walks.