Should the Byng Pirates land in the Class 4A state championship game or the Latta Panthers battle their way into the 2A finals, fans of those two local teams won’t be able to make the easy trip to Shawnee to catch that appealing championship doubleheader.

For the first time in recent history, Shawnee’s Ed Skelton Field won’t host the 2A, 3A and 4A title tilts. Fans should plan to leave early. This year, those three games will be played Saturday, May 13 at Deer Creek High School in Edmond. First-round contests in those classifications will be split between Deer Creek, Edmond North and Oklahoma City’s Dolese Park.

Some reports flying around the rumor mill indicate that the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association is still miffed about the whole TuckerGate situation involving the much-hyped lawsuit surrounding Shawnee quarterback Tucker Brown that grabbed national attention last fall.

Whatever the reason, local baseball fans will suffer where it hurts the most — the pocketbook. With the soaring price of gas — especially in Ada — trips to the big school state tournaments will cost a few dollars more than they have in the past.

Plus, Shawnee is a pretty good place to watch a ballgame.

It will be business as usual for the local Class A and Class B teams that will be competing at the state tournament this week. Oklahoma City’s Dolese Park and Mustang High School will host Thursday’s first-round contests in those classes with the semifinals and finals likely to be moved to Dolese on Friday and Saturday.

———o———

Speaking of local baseball, the St. Gregory’s University sports information department has announced that Byng’s Ryan Estes has signed to play baseball for the Shawnee school.

The talented BHS shortstop has helped the Pirates to a No. 3 ranking in Class 4A heading into the postseason.

“I am very excited about Ryan Estes becoming a member of the Cavalier baseball program,” said SGU head coach Chris Pingry. “Ryan’s desire to succeed on the field and strong daily work ethic make him a great fit for our program. Coming to us from one of the great Oklahoma high school baseball powers, Ryan brings a lot of experience from a winning tradition and a dedication to excellence. With Ryan’s strong defensive skills, I expect him to make an immediate impact at any of the three infield positions as well as produce an efficient arm on our pitching staff.”

———o———

Speaking of Byng, the Oklahoma Coaches Association has announced named Alan Simpson its Region 6 Tennis Coach of the year and Kevin Wilson its Region 6 Baseball Coach of the Year.

Congratulations guys.

———o———

The 45th annual Ada Evening News All-Area basketball edition is tentatively schedule to publish Sunday, May 7.

And don’t forget about the 33rd annual Ada Evening News All-Star Classic basketball game schedule for Wednesday, May 17 at Stonewall High School. Preliminaries for the 3-point Shoot Out and Slam Dunk contests will begin at 4 p.m. with the girls’ game tipping of that night at 6:30 p.m.

———o———

Speaking of basketball, former AEN Girls Player of the Year and University of Oklahoma star La’Neishea Caufield has become a mother.

Caufield announced the birth of Ke’mari Jashon Daniels 2:43 a.m. Friday morning.

Ke’Mari weighed seven pounds, one ounce and was 18 and a half inches long. La’Neishea was proud to report that she, dad (Jeffrey Daniels) and baby were all doing fine but grandmother Annette and grandfather Charles are a little overly excited. (As I’m sure uncles Chuckie and Kyle are).

Caufield and her new family are currently residing in Arlington, Texas.

The official birth announcement will be published in an upcoming Lifestyles section near you, but I couldn’t wait to spill the beans.

———o———

New East Central University golf coach Danny Key has thrown another stick onto the fire that is the ECU-Southeastern rivalry.

And it’s a good one.

The Tigers and Savages — OK, the Savage Storm — squared off on the golf course this past Thursday in the inaugural Texoma Cup at the Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course in Madill.

The two teams went head-to-head in a match play format similar to the Ryder Cup.

Alas, Southeastern won the event 6-2 and will keep the traveling trophy for a year.

ECU's only victories came from the brother combination of Steven and Alan Knickmeyer in the morning rounds and the Ryan Manry-Allen Knickmeyer team in the afternoon session.

The team of Andrew Bishop and Hunter Nickell of Allen High School lost their match on the 18th hole.

The event served as a tune-up for the Tigers, who are headed to the NCAA Division II Super Regionals at the Territory Golf Club in Duncan on Monday through Wednesday.

———o———

AEN Fantasy Baseball Update

After three full weeks, defending champion Kevin Gray has built a five-game lead over Leo Kelly in the 2006 Ada Evening News Fantasy Baseball Challenge.

KJ's Hard Hitters were atop the standings at 26-12-4 while Leo's Sluggs were next at 20-16-6.

Only three and a half games separated teams 3-7 in the eight-team league.

James Myers continues to dwell in the cellar after a three-week total of 13-23-6.

Gray, Kelley and yours truly held down the top three spots going into Saturday's late-afternoon, evening MLB games.

This Week's Circulars