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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Bishop Kelley Wins 5A Baseball Championship

By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer

NUMBER ONE: Bishop Kelley players celebrate winning the Oklahoma Class 5A state baseball title on May 12 at ORU. 


Courtesy Bishop Kelley High School


Bishop Kelley capped off a memorable season with the Class 5A state baseball title after beating Pryor 7-2 in the championship game in May at Johnson Stadium on the Oral Roberts University campus.

The victory marked the Comets’ first title since 2011 and sixth in school history.
Players who impacted the Comets’ title consisted of junior pitcher Ben Gross, who came in in relief in the first inning, seniors Ryan Gendron, an Oklahoma State signee, and Joel Christener.

The pitching of Gross and the Comets’ defense highlighted the game. Gross relieved starter Jack Griffin in the first inning and threw for 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks.

What enabled Gross to have a solid outing, he says, was being able to stay calm, not get caught up in the moment and play the game as if it were another day in baseball.
“It really felt great, having the coaches’ trust and knowing that they trust me in those kind of moments, is a pretty good feeling,” Gross says.

During that first inning which Gross took the mound, Pryor had taken a 1-0 lead on an RBI single. It would hold until the top of the third.

“I would say I was a little bit nervous,” says Christener, who played centerfield. “But, I knew we definitely had the team to come back.”

Christener, who finished the day at 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two runs batted in, put Kelley ahead with a two-run single and Cooper McMurray drove in another run with a base hit.

“I would say just going up there with confidence was what led to me getting that hit,” Christener says.

Kelley was up 3-1, but the Tigers answered in the bottom frame with a double and an RBI single.  

Gendron, playing short stop, would add a two-run single in the fifth to make it 5-2. He and Jordan Redmon added two more runs on bases-loaded walks in the sixth. There would be no more scoring.

“(Winning state) means a lot,” says Gendron, who batted 1-of-3 with three RBI’s. “It is something I have dreamed of all four years of high school. Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal, to win a state championship and for it to come true is really awesome. We’ve been working hard for it all year and it’s just really cool that we came in and got it.”

“It was unbelievable, honestly,” Christener says. “Running in (to the dog pile) and hearing the fans cheering us in the stands was awesome. It was like Holy Cow! We just did this! We won a state championship! It was awesome!”

Gendron, whose dad, Jonnie, was also a standout for Kelley in baseball and basketball, agreed that winning state was good preparation for his journey to Oklahoma State.
“In any sport you play, your goals are to win championships,” says Jonnie Gendron. “Obviously, at the next level, the goal is to win the (College) World Series at Omaha (annual site of the College World Series). It’s just a good experience to have big moments like that to prepare for the future.”

Two factors impacted Gendron’s decision to join the Cowboys.

“Definitely the coaches and being close to home,’ he says. “I love all the coaches out there. I visited as a sophomore (when at Bishop Kelley) and from the beginning, OSU made me feel really comfortable and it just felt like home. I loved it. It is only an hour way from Tulsa. So, it’s just really nice that my family will be able to come in and watch me play as well.”

Gendron chose OSU over Arkansas, Oklahoma and Wichita State.

Christener will also be attending OSU, though he will not be playing baseball. He is looking forward to going out to watch and support his Kelley teammate.

“I think he’ll (Gendron) do very well at OSU,” Christener says.

Three days after winning state, Kelley’s coach, Brian Begnel, announced his retirement. The Comets named Jeff Scardino, a 2006 BK graduate, to lead the program.

“I don’t think we’re going to have too much of a problem,” says Gross, who returns next year as a senior.  I think we’re going to do a pretty good job of changing that whole coaching aspect and be able to adjust to what (Scardino) wants to do with us.
More state champs from Kelley and other private schools

A story on Kelley repeating as state champions in boys’ soccer will appear in the July issue. The school also had state champions in boys’ tennis. Other Tulsa area private school achieved spring sports state championships as well. Metro Christian and Regent Prep won team and individual titles respectively in girls’ tennis and boys golf. Cascia Hall also produced individual medalists in both sports. Highlights will be in the story.

Updated 06-21-2018

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