GROVE - Miami is the winner of “Survivor: Grove” - AKA the Class 4A baseball regional held at Jim Beauchamp Field.
Grant Longcrier's two-out single to left in the top of the eighth inning helped the Wardogs claim a 6-5 victory over Oologah here Sunday.
The grand prize isn't $1 million like on the popular TV show, but its something almost as coveted around here - MHS' first trip to the state tournament in five years.
Ironically, 2007 is the 20th anniversary of Miami winning its only baseball championship.
“We've been there a few times - I want to win it,” Miami coach Chris Mercer said. “It's been five years since we've been back. We've been knocking at the door a few times.”
Oologah forced Sunday's “winner take all” game by rolling to an 11-5 win Saturday evening.
The Mustangs, who had lost to Miami 5-0 in Friday's first round, beat Grove 7-6 to earn the rematch.
Pairings for the state tournament at Shawnee likely will be announced today by the OSSAA.
Miami coasted through the first five innings Sunday behind left-hander Brett Abell.
But Abell had to battle a case of hiccups in the sixth inning that saw Oologah score four times.
A two-out single by Matt Collter and an error on the ensuing overthrow of the relay back in allowed the Mustangs to tie the game at 5-5.
Abell restored order by getting Dock Melton on a grounder and Ty Gable on a smash to Longcrier at first.
Oologah had the winning run at second base in the bottom of the seventh.
Jeff White singled up the middle with one out, then moved to second on a ground out by Kelby Bradshaw.
DH Scott Kooken was intentionally walked, then Abell got Rider Walters on a called third strike on a full count fastball.
Catcher Zack Turley was hit by a pitch to start the Miami eighth. Josh White bunted him to second.
James Pickens popped up before Michael Anderson walked. Longcrier fell behind 0-2 before drilling his RBI single to left field.
“That was a huge hit by Grant,” Mercer said. “The last half of the season he's shown he can do that. It's encouraging because he's a sophomore who can replace some of these guys next year.”
Abell retired the first two Mustangs in the Oologah half of the eighth, then Melton blooped a single to short right-center field. Right fielder Anderson and second baseman Pickens collided on the play, briefly shaking up Pickens.
Abell worked the count to 2-2 on Gable, who fouled off two straight pitches before striking out to end the game.
“Last night after we lost, I told them ‘if you think for a minute just because we're walking out there with Brett, we're going to win, you're wrong - it's going to be a dogfight,'” Mercer said. “Oologah has a strong tradition. They've been there the last three years. They weren't going to lay down.”
Miami's seven-hit attack included two singles each by Longcrier and Freeman. Nick Henson had a double and Abell and Nick Jones added singles.
White had three singles for the Mustangs, who also got two doubles from Melton and a pair of singles from Bradshaw.
Oologah 11, Miami 5
The Mustangs scored six runs in the final three innings to force the “if necessary” game.
Miami narrowed the gap to 6-4 with a three-run rally in the fourth. Abell doubled home two of the runs and he then scored on a passed ball.
White and Walters had RBI singles in a three-run fifth, then White and Bradshaw added run-scoring hits in the sixth.
Miami had six hits off the Ponies' Barrett and White.
Freeman and Jesse Henson each collected two singles. Abell doubled and Nick Henson chipped in with a base hit.