Huskies prepare for district play at Morrison

Robert Smith

Pawhuska’s varsity baseball team went into Monday with a 10-11 season record, following a rocky time last Thursday and Friday at the Salina Tournament.

The 2A Huskies held out their best pitchers, giving their arms some rest before the District Tournament this week at Morrison, PHS Coach Chris Rumsey said. The result was they lost three straight — 10-0 to 3A Adair; 13-5 to 4A Jay; and 11-3 to 4A Inola.

“It wasn’t a good weekend, but we played some good teams that were ranked,” Rumsey said. Inola, at 20-5 through Monday, has the best record of the teams Pawhuska played in the Salina tournament.

Cade McNeil missed the tournament for Pawhuska with an injured ankle, but Rumsey thought he would likely be back Monday afternoon, as the Huskies played a last regular season game against Newkirk. As it turned out, McNeil played first base for several innings but Rumsey used Gabe Letzkus as a designated hitter for him at the plate. Rumsey said he wanted to avoid having McNeil run too much on the basepaths as he recovers.

Pawhuska won that Monday matchup with Newkirk, beating the Tigers handily, by a score of 14-3. That evened the Huskies’ regular season mark at 11-11. Ryan Jones, Channler Moen and Gabe Letzkus split the pitching duties against Newkirk with Jones starting and going two frames, followed by Moen working three innings and Letzkus two innings.

A half-dozen Huskies had runs batted in during the Newkirk game. R.J. McCann and Landon Vogele each had two RBI. The Huskies also benefited from some wildness by Newkirk pitchers. Easton Kirk got plunked twice, while Channler Moen and Gabe Letzkus each got hit once.

In the field, the Huskies were a little loose Monday, giving up five errors. Rumsey acknwledged fielding is an area where there is ongoing room for work and improvement.

District play is set to commence Thursday, and Rumsey anticipates he’ll have everybody, including his best pitching arms, ready.

“Everybody should be good to go, going into district,” he said. The Morrison team that is playing host at district was 23-6 through Monday, and ranked No. 14 in 2A, according to the OSSAA. Rumsey said he expects Morrison to be tough.