WISTER â€” Last Friday, things were not looking too promising for the Wister Wildcats baseball team to keep the streak alive of seasons at state. At that moment, the streak stood at five.
After the â€™Cats lost the Class A Regional Tournament title game 11-0 to host Rattan, they had to beat Tushka for a second time to make state as consolation champions.
With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, senior Tyler Gibson hit a two-run home run to propel the Wildcats to a 4-2 victory â€” and make it six straight seasons at state, dating back to May 2010.
â€śWe just wanted to get the whole Rattan game out of our minds,â€ť Gibson said. â€ś'We wanted to come back and play without any emotion â€” and make it back to state for the sixth straight time.â€ť
In fact, the Wister senior was not certain that his blast was indeed a home run at first.
â€śI didn't know it was gone until after I looked back at it â€” and it was still going,â€ť Gibson said. â€śI didn't know until after I had rounded first base. I was nervous, then after that it was totally awesome.â€ť
The Wister seniors did not want the streak to end.
â€śI was pretty worried, but I told Tyler he would have to produce some runs in the No. 4 hole,â€ť Corey Bullard said. â€śIt's pretty important to keep the streak going. We've got to start building the program from the little guys on up. You have to have nine guys pulling together, having perfect innings, pitchers throwing perfect innings â€” perfect everything to win a state championship.â€ť
For one Wister senior, he will get the chance for the first time to experience a state tournament.
â€śIt was my senior year, and I hadn't played since seventh grade,â€ť Cody Spraberry said. â€śI wanted to play with these guys. They're really good buddies of mine, and I know how well they play this sport. It's been truly amazing playing with them. I wouldn't trade them for anything. It feels pretty amazing to come back with these group of guys and make it all the way to state. They never quit â€” they just keep going. It's amazing to have this coach (John McAlester) as a leader. This is my first time. It feels pretty amazing, to get to represent Wister and get to keep playing (this week).â€ť
The â€™Cats will get a familiar foe this afternoon in the Class A State Tournament quarterfinals in the Dale Pirates, who they beat for the Class 2A state title in May 2011 at Shawnee's Ed Skelton Field.
â€śIt's going to be hard to get past them, but I think we can do it,â€ť senior Colby Turnipseed said.
Then, in Friday's state semifinals, should Wister get past Dale, there is a potential of a match-up with Silo, which has been a thorn in the Wildcats' side of late at state â€” including a loss to the Rebels last May at the Class 2A State Tournament.
â€śIt would make me pretty pumped, but it really doesn't matter who we play,â€ť Turnipseed said.
If things go the right way, come about 2 p.m. Saturday at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, the Wister Wildcats will be celebrating a second state title.
â€śNothing would be sweeter,â€ť senior Jon Watts said. â€śNot a lot of people thought we'd even be at the state tournament. The first time we won it (May 2011), it was awesome. To win it twice would be pretty great. We're excited. We can't wait for it to get here. We're pretty focused, getting our heads on straight and getting ready to go play ball.â€ť