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Owasso Baseball Shines with D-1 Players

By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer

PROSPECTS: Brayden Lloyd, left, will be an Oklahoma Sooner, and Caleb Denny will be an Arkansas Razorback.


Courtesy photo


High expectations loom for Owasso baseball. A big reason for that is the Rams have the tools, with several college-bound athletes in the batting order.

That includes players Brayden Lloyd and Caleb Denny. Lloyd, a pitcher, is Norman-bound for OU, and Denny is a catcher/third baseman going east of the state line to Fayetteville to be an Arkansas Razorback.

Both players are confident in the Rams’ chances to win a Class 6A state championship in May. If it happens, it will be Owasso’s first since 2015 and 14th in school history.  They will also join the football and girls’ basketball teams, who have won titles in their respective sports, along with swimming and wrestling, each who boast an individual state champion in the 2017-18 athletic school year.

Lloyd chose OU over the University of Central Florida, where he came close to signing before getting a call from the Sooners.

“I barely committed to OU,” Lloyd says. “I originally had a flight scheduled for Florida because I was going to commit to UCF. Then OU called and asked about coming down. All the coaches (including OU head coach Skip Johnson) made me want to come down.”

Playing in the Sunshine State would have been nothing new for Lloyd. He has played summer league ball down there the past two years, and the Rams have been traveling there to play over spring break in recent years.

This year was no exception. Lloyd threw a no-hitter in Owasso’s 3-0 victory against Largo, Florida, in a tournament there late last month. It was the first no-hitter of his high school career and is among his most favorite moments.

“I threw the full game with no hits,” he says. “So that was fun.”

The competitiveness of pitching is what Lloyd likes most about the position.

“The ball is basically in your hands,” he says. “Everything that happens is either because of you or against you. Whether it is good or bad, it’s either your fault or not your fault. I got the best chance to help my team.

“I pitched in the state finals my freshman year and we won that,” Lloyd says. “I’m a senior now. I’ve played all four years, so I don’t get nervous.”

Lloyd looks forward to helping out the Sooners.

“I just want to go there and get better and help the team out,” he says. “It could be a top team in the nation with the recruits we have coming in. I already know most of the kids, including the three guys I’ll be rooming with. I believe our team chemistry is already there.”

Lloyd has already been to Norman to attend a few games. He likes what he sees in this year’s Sooners.

Denny chose Arkansas over Wichita State and OU. He connected with the coaching staff and says, “They have the nicest facilities in the country and playing in the SEC is a big challenge.”

He is hoping to help contribute to a College World Series trip for the Hogs.
“That’s a dream of mine. It would pretty cool,” Denny says.  He already has his “pig sooey” chant down after being to a few games.

Denny also has long-term dreams of having a Major League Baseball career.
As for this season, Denny believes the Rams are benefitting from their Florida trip.
“(The season) went really well at the beginning,” he says. “Then we went down to Florida and struggled a little bit.”

The Rams went 2-4 while playing in their tournament in Florida. “I think the losses were really good for us in a way. It kind of humbled us and made us focus more and take it more seriously,” says Denny, who enjoys being in the action behind the plate.
His favorite moment so far in his high school career is winning state as a freshman in 2015, along with a rally to beat Stillwater early in this season. He, along with Lloyd and other teammates, would like to add another title before leaving Owasso. They know they can’t overlook anyone, especially after being eliminated in the first round at state the past two years.

“I think we looked past the quarterfinals and looked forward to the semifinals of the championship and we were not focused on getting that first round win,” Denny says.
Denny and Lloyd are confident this season will end with a state trophy in their hands.

Updated 04-27-2018

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