For the past two months, the Elk City-based Oklahoma Travelers have criss-crossed the country, winning 55 of 60 games while facing some of the nation’s top summer traveling squads.
This weekend, they will be in California, hoping to cap off another successful summer with their second national championship in three years.
A collection of some of Oklahoma’s most accomplished high school players and a couple from Texas, the Travelers will face the Southern California Angels at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Grossmont College in San Diego in their opener at the United State Amateur Baseball Federation World Series.
And if the Travelers are going to claim another national title, they figure to need another good week from Roff All-Staters Brendan McCurry and Dayne Parker.
McCurry and Parker are no strangers to championships.
In addition to being part of the Travelers squad that claimed a national title in 2008, they were teammates on three straight Class B state champions in baseball and one in basketball at Roff from the spring of 2009 to the spring of 2010, and McCurry also won two baseball state titles at Tupelo in the spring and fall of 2007.
Oklahoma’s all-time leader in home runs with 131 (including 27 this spring) and the ace of the Roff pitching staff as a senior, McCurry has carried that momentum over to the summer.
He enters the World Series hitting a cool .433 and leads the Travelers in hits (74), doubles (21) home runs (13) and RBIs (65), and he was named the Most Valuable Player after the team’s tournament victories at Pueblo, Colo., and Las Vegas.
McCurry, who posted a 9-1 record for Roff this spring, is also one of the leaders of an outstanding pitching staff.
He has eight wins — second only to former Oktaha star Cale Elam’s 10 — in nine decisions, 70 strikeouts in 50.1 innings, five complete games, four saves and a microscopic 0.69 ERA.
Parker, meanwhile, is hitting .365 with nine doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 51 RBIs this summer.
In addition to starting at shortstop for the Travelers in almost every game this summer, he has also posted a 1-0 record in four appearances on the mound and hasn’t given up an earned run while striking out 14 in 9.2 innings. Opponents his a miniscule .037 against him.
A four-year starter at Roff, Parker was the Outstanding Defensive Player at the tournaments in Colorado and Nevada this summer.
As good as Parker and McCurry have been this season, they are only two of the stars on a team that has posted some impressive numbers.
The Travelers started and ended the regular season in style with 17-game winning streaks, and in addition to their tournament victories in Colorado and Nevada, they won their own Elk City Route 66 Classic and went unbeaten at rain-shortened tournaments in Midwest City and Stillwater.
Along the way, they beat teams from Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Kansas, Oregon and Texas.
Elam, who led Oktaha to the Class A title last fall and a runner-up finish behind Silo in Class 2A this spring (and who will join Parker at Wichita State this fall), has been just as versatile for the Travelers.
In addition to posting a perfect 10-0 record on the mound with a 1.13 ERA, he leads the team in hitting at .520 (26 hits in 50 at-bats).
Lefty Dillon Overton, a University Oklahoma signee who pitched Weatherford the the Class 4A title this spring (but lost a 1-0 decision to Roff on a McCurry home run in May), is 4-0 this summer with a 0.66 ERA and 39 strikeouts in just over 21 innings, and Verden’s Daniel Edwards (4-2) and Chickasha’s Colin Hightower (5-2) have also been solid.
The Travelers, who are hitting .382 as a team and are averaging 8.4 runs per game, will also enter the World Series with a 2.27 staff ERA, 19 complete games and 426 strikeouts in 354 innings.