Oran aims for a final four berth

Friday, May 30, 2003

Top-ranked Oran will seek a return trip to the Class 1 final four today when it hosts Southern Reynolds of Ellington in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal baseball game.

Both teams are coming off eight-inning sectional victories Wednesday. Oran (20-2) dispatched North Pemiscot 3-2, while Southern Reynolds (15-5) edged Bismarck 3-1.

Oran is expected to throw senior Tyler Nelson (6-1) at the Whippets, who bring a .381 team batting average into the contest. Southern Reynolds, which won its third consecutive District 4 title, will counter with senior right-hander Levi Cowin (5-2).

Cowin is the Whippets' leading hitter with a .547 average, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs -- all team-leading figures. Southern Reynolds also features catcher Mike Russell (.517, 28 RBI, 5 HR).

Oran, which averaged nearly 15 runs a game over its first 20 games, has scored just six in its past two games.

"We're getting hits, but they're just more spread out," Oran coach Mitch Wood said. "The last two games we hit the ball hard but right at people."

The Eagles are batting .392 as a team, have belted 48 home runs and feature seven players in the lineup batting over .400. Senior shortstop Ryne Wood leads the team with a .487 average, while senior first baseman Tyler Cookson has team-leading totals of 10 home runs and 41 RBIs.

Today's winner will face either Leeton (17-6) or Concordia (16-2) in the state semifinals Wednesday in Columbia.

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