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Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Perhaps the No. 1 most joyful thing about Oxford’s High School baseball team’s entry into the 2015 Class 2A-A State Tournament in Great Bend is it came so unexpectedly.Oxford was 8-11 and the fourth seed going into the Central-Burden regional tournament. Then they knocked out West Elk in a hard-fought battle. The Wildcats then stunned the world by knocking off 18-2 Udall before beating Cedar Vale-Dexter in the championship game.Consider this, Oxford is 11-11 and has as many as six freshmen and two sophomores at once. And they are going back to the state tournament for the first time since 2006.Now Oxford is set to play in the state tournament on Thursday. Here are 10 things to know about the Oxford Wildcat baseball team and the tournament ahead. Just a note, Sumner Newscow will be providing live tweets of the first round contest.1. The who, what, where’s of state tournament ahead. Oxford is scheduled to play Moscow in the first round of the single elimination tournament at Great Bend Sports Complex. Originally, that game was set for 6:30 p.m.  But because of the stormy weather Kansas has had lately, KSHSAA officials are taking no chances. The KSHSAA sent out an e-mail stating that each game will start approximately 30 minutes after the previous game.  So it might behoove the Wildcat fans to get there earlier than 6:30. A baseball game lasts about 90 minutes and the first game starts at 11 a.m.The tournament is single elimination. If Oxford wins then it will play after the 10 a.m. semifinal game against the winner of Medicine Lodge (19-4) vs. Olathe Heritage Christian Academy (10-13). The full bracket is here.2. Thursday’s weather forecast in Great Bend. Like the rainy weather has been cooperative anytime this month. Tomorrow, Great Bend is predicted to have 40 percent chance of rain. On Friday, the likelihood of rain increases to 60 percent. Keep an umbrella handy, and don’t be surprised that your trip to Great Bend will require some waiting time.3. So where is Moscow? Moscow comes into the tournament at 17-5 as the third seed. It is located in southwest Kansas between Hugoton and Satanta — or north of Liberal, or in no man’s land. Moscow won the Syracuse Regional just east of the Kansas-Colorado state line which included Elkhart, Loti-Wichita County, Satanta and Syracuse.4. The scouting report.Oxford head baseball coach Kyle Green said Moscow is senior loaded with a lefty pitcher by the name of Tad Stuckey.“He’s got a decent fastball but from what I’ve been told his curve is a plus,” Green said.Offensively, Moscow gets most of its run production from Stuckey, and second baseman Alexis Manriquez, both seniors. Also, freshman Jalen Shaddix had six RBIs in the regional final.5. What Oxford needs to do to win.Continue to play the small ball better than the others. Interestingly, Oxford goes into the state tournament with no home runs and one triple this season. But they play smart on bases, much like the Kansas City Royals.“We have to keep the same formula that led us on this run,” Green said. “Our pitchers have to pound the zone, be efficient, play error free baseball and get some timely hitting.“Do the ordinary things well and the baseball gods will take care of us.”6. The Wildkittens? As mentioned above, the Wildcats are relatively young with two senior starters and the rest being underclassmen.“The best line I heard from Oggie Shimkus is we are like the Oxford ‘Wildkittens,” Green said. “These kids have handed the pressure so well. They are unique.”7. Oxford has two seniors – but they are good. Shimkus is a senior who has played a ton of baseball. He has the team’s highest on-base-percentage of .459 with a .333 batting average. Derek Williams has a .214 batting average and his OBP is .321.8. And then there is that youth.The two sophomores Oxford starts have played a bunch in the summer. Dylan Reuter has played on various summer teams and started last year. Grant Smith also started last year and has played a pile of summer ball.“All of the freshman have played the bulk of their summer careers for Kenny Thomas and have had success,” Green said. “I was worried about the pressure factor going into the Udall and Cedar Vale-Dexter games in region. But all of those kids have been in big games throughout their careers. It was just another game to them.”9. The traveling Oxford team…With the Oxford field being under water, the Wildcats have been all over the place practicing. On Monday, they were at the Armory in Wellington. Tuesday they practiced at the Hafner Center at Cowley County Community College.“They are just excited to now be part of the Oxford baseball tradition, now that they’ve gotten back to state,” Green said. “This is our ninth trip to state if you count state tournament from the late 1950s and early 1960s. But this is the first time since 2006. We are glad to be back.”10. Season statistics of Oxford’s team…The full batting and pitching stats can be found here: Oxford 2015 season statistics up to state tournamentFollow us on Twitter.last_img

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