Local pitcher represents state in All-American tourney

Local pitcher represents state in All-American tourney

Pawhuska High School senior Tyler Culver has thrown a lot of quality pitches since hurling the Huskies to a high school district championship last spring.

Recently, the PHS senior continued to build toward a future baseball career when he took the mound in Texas for an all-Oklahoma team recently in the Battle of the Borders All-American Tournament in Texas.

Culver — a lean (6-3, 185-pound) righthander with a loose arm and bulldog attitude— is rated as the fourth-best high school pitcher in the state by Perfect Game USA, one of the largest baseball scouting services in the country. One pro scout currently lists him No. 16, overall, among Oklahoma prep prospects.

This high regard for Culver’s diamond proficiency will come as no surprise to anyone who saw him pitch the Huskies to a Class 3A District championship six months ago. The Pawhuska ace recorded a pair of one-hit, complete-game victories over Lincoln Christian while striking out 23 batters in just 12 innings. In his next start, Culver won a game at the regional tournament.

The Battle of the Borders tourney was held over the weekend of Sept. 27-29 at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth. Sponsored by Oakley sunglasses, the event featured four other teams representing the states of Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. Collegiate and professional baseball scouts from across the country were on hand for the showcase of the region’s top 16-, 17- and 18-year-old talent.

Oklahoma’s team tied with Texas on Friday, then posted triumphs Saturday over New Mexico and Louisiana. Texas won a rematch in Sunday’s championship game. Culver contributed five solid innings in the tourney. Other area players on the squad included Carson LaRue of Dewey and Owasso standouts Mason O’Brien and Braden Webb.

Over the past two summers, Culver has gained seasoning and exposure as a member of the D-BAT Mustangs travelling team. The squad is sponsored by the D-BAT Baseball Academy of Tulsa, one of more than a dozen private training facilities operated by the Texas-based baseball enterprise.

“In the last couple of years, guys off that team have signed to play at Oklahoma State, Arkansas and OU,” said Clint Culver, Tyler’s father.

Thus far, Culver has not committed to any of the colleges that have contacted him regarding his future baseball plans, which will be determined partly by the PHS star’s performance during his final season with the Huskies.

One drawback as a result of Culver’s top-grade baseball status also has had an effect on the Pawhuska High football team. Because of his busy baseball schedule, Culver was forced to forego his fourth year as a two-way starter. He had played at quarterback and wide receiver on offense, and linebacker and safety defensively) for the Huskie grid squad. He also was a punter and place kicker.

“It bothers him not being out there,” his father said. The high risk of a football-related injury also is averted for Culver, who broke a bond in his hand in a game two years ago.

Over the summer, Culver also participated in showcase-type events in Atlanta and Los Angeles. He is invited to another all-American tournament later this month (Oct. 24-28) at Jupiter, Fla., site of several MLB spring-training facilities.

At some of the showcases, professionals from Perfect Game and other scouting services test and evaluate prospects on a wide range of baseball skills.

“They look at players in terms of where they expected them to go in the (Major League Baseball) Draft,” Clint Culver said of the scouts at the national showcases.

Radar guns have clocked Culver’s pitches at a little over 90 miles per hour. A Perfect Game scouting report says his fastball has “lots of life, both riding and tailing.” The Huskie star has a “hard power curveball, with sharp biting action,” says the report, which also gives Culver positive marks as a batter.

“Tall slender frame, lots of room to fill out…Long, extended arm action,” the report continues, finally adding (last, but certainly not least): “Good student.”