Oran finds its revenge in district title game

Friday, May 17, 2002

ORAN, Mo. -- Nathan Seyer set the tone with a home run to lead off the game.

And by the time Oran was finished having fun, the Eagles were back on top of Class 1A, District 2 after a two-year absence.

"It feels good to win district," said Seyer, a junior catcher. "It's my first one."

Top-seeded Oran's 16-2, five-inning pummeling of second-seeded Bell City in Thursday's district championship game also exacted a bit of revenge, according to several of the Eagles.

It was eventual 1A state champion Bell City that ended Oran's basketball season this year with a 73-49 romp in the district finals. Most of the players on the field Thursday for both teams also played basketball.

"That was definitely on our minds," said junior right-hander Ryne Wood, the winning pitcher. "There's quite a bit of a rivalry going."

Right fielder Matt Bucher -- Oran's only senior starter who is the lone holdover from the last Eagles' team to reach the state's final four, in 1999 -- agreed.

"We talked about this back in March," a smiling Bucher said. "It feels good to beat them."

Added Seyer, who went 4-for-4 with three runs batted in and two runs scored, "There was a little tension, nothing serious. But we wanted to get back at them."

To Mitch Wood, who coaches both the Oran baseball and basketball teams, of much more importance than gaining revenge was that the Eagles were finally district champions again.

Oran finished second in the state in 1998 and third in 1999 during a stretch that included five district titles in six years, but the Eagles failed to make it out of district the past two seasons despite fielding strong teams.

"It's been kind of like a monkey on our back," Wood said. "It's a good feeling to win it again."

The Eagles, 17-4, winners of eight straight games and ranked third in the state, will host the District 1 champion Wednesday in the sectional round. The Cubs finish at 11-5.

"I expected a good ballgame, but I knew if we hit the ball like we have been, it could turn out like this," Mitch Wood said.

Oran, the visiting team on the scoreboard after a pre-game coin flip, took control from the outset. It started when Seyer ripped a Jason Rampley pitch well over the left-field fence, a drive estimated at about 350 feet.

"I knew that one was gone when I hit it," said a grinning Seyer, who has five homers this year and is batting well over .500.

Four hits, two errors and one walk later, the Eagles had seven first-inning runs as they sent 11 batters to the plate. Patrick Friga delivered a two-run single for another key blow.

That was pretty much the game, and Oran officially sealed it with an eight-run third to make it 15-0 as Bell City committed four more errors.

Only seven of Oran's runs were earned, but the Eagles still were solid at the plate with 12 hits, including two each by Friga and Garrett Roslen.

Wood (5-1) allowed five hits while striking out six and walking three. He carried a shutout into the bottom of the fifth, but Oran's only error of the day led to a pair of unearned runs.

"I threw all right," Wood said. "I didn't have my curveball, but it didn't matter as long as we won."

Rampley (3-3) allowed eight hits and 12 runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings. Darrell Bailey worked the final 2 2/3 frames, allowing four hits and four runs (one earned). Each hurled walked four.

Rampley and Kenyon Wright both had two of the Cubs' five hits.


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