Roff’s Dearth Parker and C. J. Stewart were both members of the most successful senior athletic class in school history and wrapped up their careers with a state baseball title this spring, while Latta’s Kolbie Brown and Sulphur’s Tanner Chitwood — who as juniors were key members of teams that played on the final day of the season — were stars on rebuilding clubs in 2006.
But all four will be in action July 25 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, when Oklahoma’s brightest high school stars compete in the 2006 All-State Baseball games.
Parker, Stewart and Brown will play for Roff coach Ead Simon on the Small East squad, which will take on the West at 4:30 p.m., while Chitwood is one of three pitchers named to the Large West team that will meet the East at 7 p.m.
Stewart, the winning pitcher in state title games in 2004 and 2006 for the Tigers, and Brown, who won Latta’s opening-round game in 2005 as the Panthers scored their third straight 2A spring state title, will join Dale star Jared Coon on the Small East pitching staff. Parker, meanwhile, was one of the stars of the 2006 Class A state tourney both at the plate and in the field and will join Dale’s Caleb Phillips and Oktaha’s Brett Thompson as infielders for the East.
Chitwood, a tall hard-throwing left-hander who is generally considered south central Oklahoma’s top Division I/professional prospect, was part of Sulphur’s 2004 state championship team and the No. 1 starter on the 2005 team that reached the title game before losing to Chandler, and he was one of only three players from Class 3A to be chosen to either of the large school all-state squads.
Simon will coach in the All-State contest for the first time, and he said it will be a treat to join Parker and Stewart in one last game and to coach former rivals such as Brown, Coon, Phillips, Ashdon Lance and Trey Wright from Silo and Jerry Ford from Rock Creek.
“I’m not a huge fan of all-state teams, because all the kids who deserve it don’t make it,” Simon said. “You don’t win state championships with just two kids.
“But it will be kinda neat to coach kids that we face all the time,” he added. “It’s an honor to coach that bunch.”
Stewart (who was also one of the state’s top catchers as a sophomore and junior) was the ultimate control pitcher and finished his high school career with a sparkling 59-6 overall record, including a 5-1 mark in the state tournament, and he pitched six strong innings and drove in the winning run as Roff won a 2-1 extra-inning thriller over Sentinel in this year’s state title game.
Parker — who was the defensive star of the Class A state tourney — set school records for home runs in a season (24 last fall) and in a career (109, including 40 as a senior) and capped his career by turning in a potential game-saving play at short in the fifth inning and scoring the winning run in the top of the eighth against Sentinel.
“Those two guys had all-state-type careers, but we had a number of kids who were all-state-calber,” said Simon, whose other four seniors — Carter Browning, Jason Trimmer, Glenn Cornell and Jo Jo Scott — all had outstanding springs and played well in the state tournament. “It’s an individual thing, but if we don’t win a state championship we probably don’t get two-all-staters. It’s a tribute to our team.
“What sets C. J. apart is that no matter the magnitude of the situation, he’s able to stay calm — he’s not the most talented pitcher in our class, but he was able to get himself out of jams because he could make big pitches when it counted,” Simon added. “You couldn’t ask for a kid to do more than Dearth did in his career. He’s an impact player, and he relishes the limelight.”
Brown developed into one of Class 2A’s top pitchers as a junior and senior, but, unlike old rivals Parker and Stewart, he didn’t finish his career with a state title after playing a key role in Latta’s three-year championship run. The Panthers were hit hard by graduation the past two years and struggled to stay at .500 this spring, finally bowing out of the playoffs with a 2-0 loss to Amber-Pocasset in the regional final.
“Kolbie is just a class act,” Simon said of Brown. “I’m proud for him, becasue he’s another kid who’s had an all-state career. He’s a tough competitor and a great kid.”