Shane Coker might be the happiest coach to ever drop a 1-0 decision on a run in the final inning in the first round of the Class B state baseball tournament in Yukon.
He wasn’t happy that his Asher Indians had been eliminated by Leedey and finished the season with a 14-13 record but he was very happy that his young team seems to be ahead of schedule.
“We are probably about a year ahead of schedule for what I expected,” Coach Coker said. “We are freshman and sophomore laden. Our goal coming into the year was to get into a regional and give ourselves a shot. We did that and more.”
Once the Indians punched their ticket to state, those goals changed and they wanted to win it all.
Having a lot of freshmen and sophomores isn’t always a bad thing – especially when one of those sophomores is Trevor Martin. Martin is a big, athletic pitcher who is already verbally committed to play college baseball at Oklahoma State. He pitched a gem on Thursday but a couple of small mistakes cost him a chance to knock off the No. 2 team in the state.
Martin – who gave up only one hit and struck out 10 in seven innings of work – walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh on four pitches. A stolen base and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third. Martin struck out a hitter for the second out and worked his way to a 1-2 count with two outs.
His next pitch was low and outside and his catcher tried to backhand it. The ball squirted just far enough away to allow the runner to score from third. He completed the strikeout, but the damage was done.
Asher never scored, but they did have chances even though they only amassed three hits. In the first inning, Jake Dobbs led off the game with a hit, but a double play erased the threat.
In the second Jayse Beverage walked and Brock Williamson singled to get two men on with only one out. But a bunt was popped up and a strikeout ended the inning.
“The last couple of weeks, making the most of opportunities and doing the little things right got us here,” Coker said. “Today, we didn’t do that as well.”
Dobbs singled again in the fifth – he had two of Asher’s three hits on the day. This time he got to second but he was stranded there.
Asher had one last chance in the seventh when Hasbell was hit by a pitch when he was pinch hitting. But three straight strikeouts ended the game and Asher’s season.
Coker was hoping for a win, but he is already excited for the spring season.
“The great thing about small school baseball is that by their sophomore year, the spring season is their fourth varsity season,” he said. “I think we will get better with the extra experience.”