OKLAHOMA CITY — Pitching in a state title game inside Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is a pretty big spot for a sophomore. But Roff’s Tallen Bagwell wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Bagwell limited No. 1 Red Oak to just four hits and helped the second-ranked Tigers roll past the Eagles 9-3 in Saturday’s Class B State Tournament championship game before a rowdy crowd at the home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Roff ended the season holding up the gold championship trophy after reeling off an incredible 26 straight wins. The Tigers finished 30-2.
Red Oak — which had been ranked No. 1 and had been pegged as the team to beat all fall — had been nearly as impressive, riding a 20-game winning streak into the matchup with playoff rival Roff but saw their runner-up season end at 31-2.
The Eagles had scored 28 runs in their two previous state tournament games and had surrendered just nine combined runs through their last nine contest.
Bagwell and the Tigers changed all that. The gutsy sophomore struck out seven, walked one, allowed one earned run and scattered four hits in the complete-game gem.
“He was just superb on that stage. His brother (Aiden Bagwell) was also pretty good on that stage. That’s a pretty good offense he was pitching against, but he was just in control all day,” said Roff head coach Ead Simon. “The inning they scored, we helped them out with a couple of errors or I’m not sure they get anything.”
Simon didn’t downplay the postseason rivalry that now exists between his team and Red Oak.
“There’s a special connection there,” he said. “Our guys knew we were going to have to play well against them. Any time we play Red Oak, whoever gets on top early kind of gets to dictate the pace of the game and how things go.”
That’s exactly what happened.
Roff scored three runs in the first inning and four more in the second to assume command and race to an early 7-1 lead.
“One thing we worked on this year is trying to maximize scoring opportunities early in games so we can bunt and do some things we like to do,” Simon said. “I felt like our guys were ready and executed awfully well early. And when you have a guy throw it like Tallen threw it that day, that’s a pretty good recipe for success.”
A few days before the state tournament, Simon talked with Bagwell and quizzed him about his turn in the RHS pitching rotation.
“I like to feel those guys out and I asked him what game do you want to throw next week and without hesitation, he said ‘The last day.’” Simon said.
Senior Tanner Graves led a seven-hit Roff offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Wil Joplin, another Roff senior, also had two hits and scored a run.
Conner Owens cracked a double, had two RBIs and scored a run, while Drew Sheppard also hit a double and scored a run.
Kagan Huneycutt drove in a pair of runs and Cade Baldridge walked three times and scored twice.
Dusty Fazekas drove in Red Oak’s first run with an RBI double and Dalton Patten added a run-scoring hit in the fifth for Red Oak. Patten absorbed the mound loss after just 1.1 innings of work. Denver Hamilton threw the final 4.2 innings for the Eagles. The two pitchers combined for nine strikeouts, eight walks, a hit batter and surrendered just two earned runs.
Seniors Coby Simon, Wil Joplin, Owens, Trayson Miller and Graves won their fourth state championship on Saturday. They won one state crown as freshmen and two more as sophomores.
“This senior bunch is super talented. There are five kids that will have the opportunity to go play college baseball. That’s pretty rare. You don’t get that depth of baseball player in very many groups. They’re good at baseball,” the veteran RHS coach said. “I don’t think a lot of people thought we would win. But I don’t think honestly in their minds there was never a doubt.”
Roff has now won three fall baseball state titles.