Storm clouds loomed throughout the entire contest, but there was no doom and gloom to be found on the baseball diamond.
Even Mike Brown, the coach of the losing team, was happy that for the first time in three years, the clouds just hovered, nothing more.
The past few summers, Ron Holt has had to get the championship plaques redone because rain has kept the games from being played. Not Sunday. He and his wife, Becky, were able to crown a championship and runner-up for this year’s 27th Annual Brad Holt Memorial Tournament.
The Dallas Tigers of Oklahoma beat Brown’s Red Dirt 16U squad 13-1 in a four-inning game at Couch Park.
Morning thunderstorms nearly put a damper on the four-day tournament finale again and canceled the consolation games in Guthrie. However, Couch Park’s new turf surface allowed for the semifinals and championship to be played.
“Very fulfilling that we finally finished,” said Brown, also the tournament organizer. “We had some rain issues and canceled consolations down at Guthrie today but we got our championship bracket finished out and got all three games in. That is a big relief to finish a game and hand out the plaques we have had for three years. Now we get to hand them out finally.”
It was only fitting for the Holt family, who was there all weekend in full force, to see one of their own hold up the championship plaque. Trevon Holt, who is heading into his senior season at Bixby High, played third base in the title game and hit a two-RBI triple to kickstart the Tigers’ big third inning.
Holt, Ron and Becky’s grandson, said getting to play this weekend after the past few years’ problems means a lot to his family at the annual tournament honoring Brad, who died July 4, 1991, at the age of 18 in an automobile accident.
“It was big. We always know the rain is a problem around the Fourth of July,” Trevon Holt said. “With this turf that the Holliday family has put in, it is good to finally have this to where we can finish it out on a good note.”
Trevon and the Tigers started the day with a 5-1 victory over Oklahoma Process, with Brown’s Red Dirt 16U beating the 17U squad, 9-6. The pitching coach for the 17U squad is Brown’s son, Matt.
“Beating the 17s was a little fun and my son is on the coaching staff so I told him ‘Daddy is 1-0,’” Mike Brown said.
The 16U squad would have problems with the Tigers nearly right out of the gate, though. After earning a 4-0 lead through five innings in Saturday’s contest in Guthrie, the Tigers scored 12-straight and won in a run-rule. That confidence carried over for the Tigers on Sunday.
“It felt good, just got my confidence up because they threw a good pitcher and we just kept hammering him and ended up run-ruling that team,” said Kellen Pokoski, the tournament’s most valuable player. “I think when we played them again today, we knew we had this game.”
Levi Haueter, a Regent Prep player, hit a two-run shot over the left-field wall with Trevon Holt scoring on an error in the next at-bat to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead heading into the second inning.
After a quick second inning and top of the third as Pokoski was breezing through the 16U order from the mound, the Tigers pounced in the bottom of the third.
A leadoff walk and two singles loaded the bases for Trevon Holt, who connected on a ball that sped through the outfield as he slid safely into third base.
“It was good,” Trevon Holt said. “Coming out of our last tournament, we didn’t do so hot. We finally pulled together and played as a team. That was really good to see us finally come through with the hits we needed to. Each guy stepped up and when we needed a hit, they came through with it.”
The Tigers racked up 10 runs in the inning, with 15 players going to bat. Tigers coach Mike Krehbiel said the performance this weekend was exactly what his players needed.
“The kids did a good job,” Krehbiel said. “We have been working on trying to get that mental presence about them and understand where we are in the game and play the whole game. That really helped them get past being down and still feeling where they can come back, then to turn a 10 spot in the inning was really nice. It certainly carried their confidence.”
Pokoski, an Owasso product, said this weekend has been big for him personally and he appreciated the MVP honor.
“It feels great, I don’t know how else to explain it after going off this last weekend where we didn’t do too hot, but we pulled it together and all had big hits,” Pokoski said. “It just felt good.”
Red Dirt 16U would get its lone run in the top of the fourth on an RBI from Sand Springs’ native Kaden Young. Despite the big loss, Mike Brown was excited that the weekend went off nearly without a hitch. Fifteen of the 18 games scheduled were played.
“I am extremely proud of them and glad they fought,” Brown said. “We didn’t totally give up, we at least got a run on the board there. These guys are up and down, we are a little short on pitching. I am very proud of them. I am not mad at anybody or upset with anybody, I am proud of you.”
For Brown, it was great for him personally getting to meet back up with his former friends, like Kelly Reavis, a former Oklahoma State standout who threw out the first pitch Saturday night.
“Having that opportunity, that is what this tournament is and is about,” Brown said. “Guys coming back who really knew Brad. My age of guys, Brad was a little brother to us. It does mean a lot. It means something outside of baseball. It is a family reunion, a Stillwater Legion baseball reunion.”