The Poteau Pirates baseball team could not have asked for a better way to enter the postseason than winning on Senior Day 10-2 over Spiro Monday afternoon at Town Creek Park.
Now, the three seniors â€” Blake Roley, Jake McMillin and Wilson Klutts â€” believe the Pirates are taking momentum into today's Class 4A District Tournament at Stilwell.
â€śWe're playing good baseball right now,â€ť said Roley, whose Pirates will play a doubleheader at 4 p.m. this afternoon against the Indians on Day 1 of the district tournament. â€śWe should have won that game (Saturday afternoon over Wagoner in the Fort Gibson Tournament title game). Coach (Ronnie Sockey) talked to us and asked if we're ready to give up, and I don't think we're ready to give up. We feel like we have a good chance. We just need to get a couple of wins (to make the regional tournament). We're going to go put it all on the line. Hopefully, we'll win a couple.â€ť
Now is the time for the Pirates to put it all together.
â€śWe're going to put it all on the line,â€ť McMillin said. â€śStilwell is a good team. They have good pitching. We've had a rough season and we've had some tough breaks, but we've been coming around the last few weeks. Maybe we can turn it around right here and upset Stilwell â€” and move on (to regional tournament). Wilson (Klutts) and I will be pitching (today). We're just going to do the best we can.â€ť
The good news is the Pirates saw the Indians play when they came here in March. So, they know what to expect from Stilwell.
â€śWhat really concerns us is pitching-wise,â€ť Klutts said. â€śWe're going to have to put the ball in play and make things happen. Their pitchers have been throwing strikes all season.â€ť
However, on the other hand, the Pirates and Indians did not get to meet, which has put the Pirates a little bit behind the 8-ball.
â€śIt definitely hurt that we didn't get the chance to play Stilwell,â€ť Klutts said. â€śHad we played them, we would have known what things we need to correct when we play them in the district tournament. We only got to see what Stilwell does.â€ť
Despite the roller-coaster ride of a season for the Pirates, all they need is five wins over the next two weekends to make state. If that happens, there will be a happy trio of senior baseball players.
â€śIf we made it to state, that would mean everything to me because we haven't been to state since 2006,â€ť McMillin said. â€śThese younger kids look up to us. They want to be even better than we are. We want to do our best for them and for Coach Sockey.â€ť
â€śIt would mean the world. I've never gotten to state in baseball,â€ť Roley said. â€śWe haven't had a Poteau baseball team do that in a couple of years. It would set the tone for the program, and set the tone for the guys coming back next year.â€ť
â€śIt would set up the winning mentality for the kids coming back,â€ť Klutts said. â€śWe'd leave things off on the right foot, and set things going for the kids coming back next year.â€ť