Union Redskins Celebrate Baseball Championship

Union Boundary Sports Writer

NUMBER ONE: The Union Redskins celebrate a state championship in baseball after a 3-2 win over Westmoore in the Class 6A final. 

Union closed a memorable season when it dished out a 3-2 upset victory against Westmoore in the Class 6A state baseball championship final in May at Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.

The title came as a surprise to many. The Redskins (25-12) were not expected to even be in the final, and Westmoore (33-6) appeared to the best team on paper.

“(Being underdogs) really does (make winning state more special), because I know a lot of people didn’t have us favored to win, and it motivates you so much more,” said senior Landen Wood, who was in on some crucial plays in the game. “Being an underdog is so much fun. You love silencing the crowd.”

Acting as the home team, Union rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a single from Wood, Evan Jones made the winning hit as he smacked a fastball into deep left-centerfield, permitting courtesy runner Braden White to score the game-winning run.

“It was like, ‘Man! We just won state.’ Just to win it with my guys was awesome,” Jones said.

Just staying relaxed and having fun, Jones believes, was the key to making the hit.
“I walked up there after Landon’s hit. I just looked at myself and thought, ‘Man, you have to have fun right here.’ Coach (Shawn) Newkirk told me to ‘Just keep believing and have fun. Baseball is a fun game,’ and I just went up there and was just lucky enough to hit it in the gap.”

It was Union’s first state championship on the diamond since 2010 and seventh in school history.

Behind the pitching of senior Karsten Boudreau, the Redskins kept Westmoore off the scoreboard until the seventh inning. But Union could not get any runs either, so it was scoreless up unto that point.

The Jaguars got two runs on two walks and two hit-batsmen. With the bases loaded and one out, senior Tyler Fisher was sent in relief of Boudreau.

Fisher said he felt a burden on his shoulders when he entered the game.

“I felt like I really had to step up and I didn’t want to let my teammates down,” he said. “I didn’t want to give up any more runs. All I knew that I could do was throw strikes and let my defense work and it worked for me.”

Fisher only had to throw one pitch to end the side as Wood completed a double-play from centerfield. After catching a fly ball, Wood threw toward infield, forcing out a Westmoore runner trying to score from third base. Westmoore’s at-bat was over.

As Union went to bat in the bottom side, it loaded the bases with a pair of hits and a walk on one out. Fisher would be in on a key play again. He hit the ball and reached first on a throwing error that prevented a double-play, which would have ended the game for Westmoore. Instead, Fisher was on first base and two runs scored to tie the game at 2-2.

“Whenever I hit that ball, I was thinking that it was a double play,” Fisher said. “But I don’t think that I have ever run any harder toward first base than I had then. Knowing if that was going to be my last at-bat or last out in the game, I wanted to leave it all out there and that’s why I slid into first base. If I was going to end the game, Westmoore had earned it, and I just wanted to leave it out there.”

Then came Wood’s hit.

“I just knew that I got the pitch that I liked, just to take it to the left side of the field,” said Wood, who will be playing at Johnson County Community College in Kansas.
 “Because I’m left-handed, my approach is to hit it to the left side of the field because that works best for me personally as a hitter.”

That led up to Jones’ winning hit.

“It’s just great,” Jones said. “We get a big picture up in the indoor (hitting facility) that will be there for years and years to come. It’s just a great feeling. A long-waited state championship is fun.”

“To be a part of something that will always be remembered is so unbelievable,” Fisher said. “Our names won’t be forgotten. It’s incredible. It really is.”

Next issue: Union Soccer!
On the same day out in Sand Springs, the Union boys’ soccer team would win their championship with a 4-0 shut-out of rival Jenks, capping off an unbeaten season under first-year coach Michael Wilson. A story will run in the next issue. 

Updated 06-21-2018

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