Pawhuska High School baseball faces district challenge

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

The district baseball pairing of the Pawhuska High School Huskies already posed a difficult challenge — as their Class 2A hosts, the Caney Valley Trojans, are the only team to have defeated them in three season meetings.

Now, the Huskies will be facing the Trojans earlier than expected, on Wednesday. The opening game of the best-of-three elimination series is to get started at the Ramona Sports Complex at 2 p.m., as the rival squads attempt to avoid rain storms that are said to be approaching the area.

The second contest of the series is tentatively slated for 4 p.m. If the teams split victories on the “hump day” doubleheader, a decisive third showdown will be played as soon as possible on Thursday or Friday.

“We need to go in there with some confidence and play like we are capable of playing,” said the head coach of the Huskies, Brian Edwards.

Pawhuska is 11-11 for the season, with the first previous loss to Caney Valley coming March 10, when the Trojans won, 12-3, in the CVHS Tournament. Another road game was played April 4 at Ramona, with the home squad banging out a 19-1 decision in what stands as the Huskies’ most lopsided lossof the year.

PHS, on the other hand, has scored wins by scores of 16-4 (at Newkirk), 13-1 (in the season opener versus Cherokee) and 13-2 (at home against the Cleveland junior varsity). In their most recent meeting with Caney Valley on April 9, the Huskies played the Trojans to a scoreless duel through three innings before running out of ammo in a 9-0 loss for the championship of the Oklahoma Union Tournament.

Caney Valley is ranked No. 10 in Oklahoma Class 2A. The Trojans were to be taking a 20-5 record into their regular-season finale Tuesday at Nowata.

PHS concluded its regular-season schedule with a Monday home game against Tonkawa, 2A’s 17th-ranked squad. The visiting Buccaneers broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning and went on to notch their 20th win in 26 outings, 5-2.

Sophomore Braydon Wilson, the Huskies’ starting pitcher, lasted into the fifth inning. Caleb Bruce pitched the last 2 2/3 innings. Dalton Lough collected two hits — a double and single — for the Huskies. Brycen Swan scored the other run for PHS and Price Perrier collected another of the local team’s hits.

On Saturday, the Huskies jumped out to an early lead en route to a 14-6 home victory over the Pawnee Bears.

The Huskies plated eight runs in the first three innings, although is was Pawnee that went in front, 1-0, in its first at-bat. Pawhuska took control by scoring four times in the home half of the first. Nick Edwards drew a one-out walk and Wilson bunted him to second. Randsom Jones then singled, before Hayden Henley was hit by a pitch — loading the bases. Brycen Swan reached on error which pushed home the first to PHS runs. Perrier singled in another run before Swan stole home to cap the scoring with the Huskies in front, 4-1.

Jones pitched the first four innings, giving up four hits and just one earned run, while striking out four and walking three. He also hit three Bears. Caleb Bruce took over on the hill for the final frame, allowing a run and two hits while striking out a pair of Pawnee batters.

Bruce walloped two triples in the game, while Swan and Perrier also added three-baggers. Edwards had another hit for the Huskies. Bruce and Henley scored three times apiece, while Wilson, Swan and Jones each scored twice. Swan collected three RBI, with Bruce and Price Perrier each driving in two runs.