We’re all badly in need of a Baptism.

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on March 13th, 2012 in National stuff, Uncategorized
 

Remember Dallas Baptist? Do ya’? Well, reacquaint yourself soon. No, I ain’t joshing’ ya’. Those same Patriot boys who made it all the way to the Super Regionals in 2011 may be back in 2012. Tonight’s scintillating come-from-behind 7-6 win over Oklahoma was a total white-knuckler and showed all sorts of guts for this unassuming school on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas. In fact, this is the kind of game that could catapult the season to… oh, I don’t know, the Super Regionals and beyond? Just sayin’.

The Dallas Baptist Patriots are fired-up to convert you to their flock.

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WHAT I SAW AT PATRIOT STADIUM TONIGHT.

Okay, I have to admit, I was Chavez Ravine dreaming today. See, I had to fly from LAX to Dallas this morning and that meant I would miss the double-header at Dodger Stadium with Pepperdine-UC Irvine and USC-UCLA facing off with each other. Instead, I hauled ass off my Virgin America plane once I reached DFW airport and decided to go to the Oklahoma-Dallas Baptist game instead.

… and you know what? Boy, am I glad I did that.

I got to see DBU make a valiant 9th-inning comeback, overcoming a 6-3 deficit and improving its resume to 10-6 on the season. Oklahoma drops to 11-6. Here are some of the particulars…

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LINESCORE:

Okla 001 020 102 – 6  11  0

DBU 003 000 004 – 7  13  2

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WP: Aaron Gilbreath, 1-1

LP: Jordan John, 3-2.

Save: None.

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IN A NUTSHELL.

Well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t have time to really do a write-up on this game. But here’s what I will do: Here’s the write-up on tonight’s game from one of the better Sports Information Directors in our sport, Oklahoma’s Craig Moran. Enjoy…

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DALLAS, Texas — Jordan John suffered his second loss of the season as the No. 17 Sooners gave up four runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 7-6 decision at Dallas Baptist Tuesday night.

The loss dropped OU to 11-6 overall while Dallas Baptist won its third straight win over the Sooners and improved to 10-6 on the season.

“We are not finishing games,” said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway. “The message to the team afterwards was we have to execute. We are not playing well right now and we have to start getting things fixed as fast as we can.”

John (3-2) entered the game in the eighth inning with two outs and ended a Patriot threat with a fly ball to right that was caught by a diving Cody Reine to preserve a 4-3 lead. In the Sooners at bat in the ninth, Max White drove in his team-leading 17th RBI of the season and OU added another insurance run off DBU’s second error of the game for a 6-3 lead.

However, John gave up four singles and three walks (one intentional) as DBU rallied for the 7-6 win. Aaron Gilbreath (1-2) was credited with the win after a spotless 2/3 of an inning.

The Sooners struck first on Jack Mayfield’s first home run of the season (second of career) on a blast over the 15-foot wall in left field.

The 1-0 lead in the top of the third was quickly extinguished as DBU countered with a three-run homer to left off the bat of Boomer Collins. OU starter Jacob Rhame would face one more batter before being pulled in favor of Steven Bruce after 2 1/3 innings.

The Sooners also chased DBU’s starter early as Andrew Elkins tossed 4 1/3 innings and tacked on two runs in the fifth to tie the game at three apiece. Max White brought in the first run on a sacrifice fly and an additional run scored on a Dallas Baptist error allowing Erik Ross to score from second.

White extended his hitting streak to 10 games earlier in the third inning off a double and later added a single in the seventh inning when OU regained a one-run lead off Evan Mistich’s two-out RBI double to right field.

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PICS:

A few images from tonight’s game.

With a high leg kick and an unorthodox left-handed delivery, DBU starter Andrew Elkins went 4.1 innings giving up just three hits

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It took all of five pitches of tonight's game for OU leadoff hitter Eric Ross to have the entire front of his uniform full of dirt.

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Eric Ross and Cody Reine get a hero's welcome after scoring a pair of go-ahead runs early on.

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Knockout! DBU catcher Duncan McAllister lays a hard tag to the face of OU's Cody Reine.

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A couple of plays later McAlpine flipped an errant pitch back to Michael Smith who tagged out Max White for another Sooner out at the dish.

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Yep, it came down to a full count with two out and OU leading by a run for Patriot five-hole hitter Landon Anderson.

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With R.J. Talamantes (far right) running toward home, Landon Anderson lays off of a ball four pitch in the dirt to walk in the tying run of the night.

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One batter later, with the bases still loaded, Joel Hutter came on to provide for the game-winning RBI stroke which sent Dallas Baptist to a huge win over OU.

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I know it was just your average Tuesday night game, but the Patriots celebrated with a mini-dog pile and a lot of jumping around after Joel Hutter's game-winning hit.

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I can just imagine the piss and vinegar that was spewing out of Sunny Golliway's mouth after this blown lead vs. DBU.

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MY Q&A WITH DBU HEAD COACH DAN HEEFNER.

No offense Patriot fans, but I still can’t believe you guys held on to your uber-successful baseball coach after last season.I mean, really. Think about it. A small little private school in the boonies of Dallas, Texas gets his team within a game or two of Omaha? That’s pretty improbable. Well in my travels to Texas this week I got a chance to talk to coach Heefner before his game with national power Oklahoma. It was a conversation which bordered on awesomeness. Here’s how it went down.

Dallas Baptist head coach Dan Heefner shakes hands with Oklahoma's Sunny Golloway before Tuesday's epic bottom-of-the-9th legend-maker of a game.

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Me:

Talk about the off-season. What was it like after having all that post-season success last year? Did it change your team in any way? Were they motivated?

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Coach Heefner:

The biggest thing to me was their confidence. It raised expectations. In the past it was always that case of “we’re the underdogs, we’ve gotta show people what we’ve got”. We always had that chip on our shoulders, ya’ know? But now, we actually have that disappointment. Like when we go to Texas and we lose, our guys are ticked off that we lost. Our guys are mad we lost the game, not that we’re glad we played them close or went extra innings. I thought that whole mind-set started in the off-season where our guys were like, “Okay, we’ve gotten a taste of the post-season, now we want more.

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Me:

Speaking of the work ethic part of it, has that changed any since last year’s success?

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Coach Heefner:

Work ethic is something we’ve always prided ourselves on, even before last year’s post-season run. It’s part of our culture. I don’t know if last year’s success changed it, but it certainly solidified it. Hard work is the only way we got to that level. To see some of the guys who have been so successful in the past, the returning guys know that the reason they were so successful was because of their solid work ethic and not just from showing up on campus and being overly talented.

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Me:

If you guys win tonight, you’ll be at the exact same won-loss record you were at last year at this time, 10-6. Do you see the potential to make another great run like last year?

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Coach Heefner:

It’s tough to peg. Every team is different. And to be honest, I see this team as having a better pitching staff than last year. I really do. We’ve got better arms, top to bottom this year, and we’ve got a couple of guys who can really pitch. Offensively we’re a lot more aggressive, we can run a lot more than we did last year. But what we don’t have is that middle-of-the-order couple of guys who would say “if nothing is happening then I’m gonna make us go” kind of guys. It’s early. I really like our team and I think there’s a lot of potential. But the big difference in this team and last year’s team is, even if we win tonight and have the same record as last year, we beat teams like Oklahoma State, TCU and Washington State. This year, we lost by one run to Texas. We lost a close game to Oklahoma State, ya’ know we’ve been on the wrong side of some close games with good teams this time around.

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Me:

One of the players I loved last year was Chris Haney, your enigmatic closer. Anybody like him on this year’s team? Anybody that can replace his energy?

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Coach Heefner:

Oh yeah. We’ve got Michael Smith. He was our set-up guy last year and he’s got that exact same mentality as Haney had. He’s real out-going, he’s real emotional. He’s one of those guys who will come out of the bullpen and sprint to the mound. Ya’ know, we don’t do what we do last year without Haney and Michael Smith is the exact same kind of guy. He’s got a fire about him.

Michael Smith was a ball of energy on the mound for the Patriots again tonight.

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Me:

What do you like most about your team this year?

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Coach Heefner:

I really like their character and their work ethic. Those are two things that are very similar to last year’s team too. But the difference is that they’ve got a looseness about them. There’s that confidence and that expectation to win but there’s no pressure. We enjoy playing good teams. To these guys, they say, “this is what they want. Oklahoma’s coming in here, alright, let’s get after it.” There’s just zero intimidation to these guys.

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Me:

On the opposite end, what concerns you the most about these guys?

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Coach Heefner:

I guess like a lot of teams the big key is injuries. We don’t have a lot of depth if a key guy goes down. Typical of a lot of mid-majors we can’t afford to have injuries. We’ve had one key starter go down so far this year and that’s been it.

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Me:

How many guys did you lose last year to injury?

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Coach Heefner:

We stayed healthy the entire season last year. I think in our situation we just don’t have the luxury of a guy going down and a big stud come off the bench and replace him. We just don’t. But I DO think our depth is a little bit better this year. So there is a little bit of difference to this year and last year.

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Me:

Last thing I wanted to ask you about was that whole situation of moving to the Missouri Valley Conference falling through and now you guys are going to the WAC starting next year. What are your feelings about that?

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Coach Heefner:

First off, I really like the Missouri Valley, it’s a really good conference that is sort of making a move on the upswing again lately. I think there were a few years where it kind of dipped but now, they’ve gotten off to a really good start this year and they’re back up again. I was part of the MVC, as an assistant at Creighton and at Northern Iowa, so I was very familiar with the conference. I was pretty excited about going to the MVC. But then the WAC came along and promised us that we were in the conference for sure next year. And to be honest, the WAC, as it turned out, was a better fit for us. Geographically with Texas State and UTA and UT-San Antonio and with Louisiana Tech already a member, we have a lot of natural rivalries set there. And with Cal State Bakersfield coming in with us, they were top 50 last year.

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Me:

Oh yeah, I thought they really deserved a bid to the NCAAs.

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Coach Heefner:

Yeah, absolutely. So I think the WAC could be pretty good. I mean you look at how Texas State has started this season, and UTSA is always a pretty good program. Bakersfield has a solid future. So we’re looking forward to being in the WAC, we think we’ve got a lot of good things coming up and it’ll be a really good conference for us.

 

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