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June 25--MOORE -- Oklahoma and Georgia met on Friday for a tense game that could determine which team had a chance to advance to the championship of the Heartland Baseball Classic. While it was Oklahoma that prevailed by a run in a close contest, both teams ended the day with a chance to advance to the championship.
Instead it was Maryland that advanced to the title game, and Oklahoma and Georgia that met in Saturday afternoon's third-place contest. But this time there was no drama.
Oklahoma made sure of that.
Team Oklahoma finished its tournament with a 6-0 win over Georgia, taking advantage of four Georgia errors to roll to victory and secure third place at the tournament.
It wasn't the finish Oklahoma hoped for when the tournament began, but after missing a shot at the title due to a rain delay altering the bracket and a tiebreaker dropping the team to third, it was a finish that coach Shawn Newkirk was pleased with.
"We're disappointed on the one side, not getting to play for the championship," the Tulsa Union coach said. "But with the kids we had and such a short time with the team, I'm happy with how we finished today. Credit to Kyle (Tyler) for pitching a really good game."
And Newkirk's team made sure to end the tournament on a high note. Tyler earned the start for team Oklahoma and made the most of it, striking out eight batters while throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just four hits. He walked away with the win in a dominant performance after throwing three innings on Tuesday.
If Tyler felt the pressure of the third-place game, he didn't show it. After Oklahoma took a lead into the sixth inning, Georgia responded by loading the bases with one out. After a brief meeting at the mound Tyler calmly struck out the next batter he faced and then forced a groundout to end the threat.
"It's just fun out there," he said after Oklahoma ended the tournament with a 6-2 record. "I felt really good out there, and felt comfortable with all my pitches. We would have liked to play for first place, but it was great to get one more game with these guys."
While Tyler was cruising on the mound, the offense took off in the fourth inning. Helped by a pair of Georgia errors, Oklahoma'sTrevor McCutchin put his team on the board with a two-RBI single to right field. DeShawn Lookout and Blake Brewster added RBIs in the inning and Oklahoma scored another on an error to take a 5-0 lead into the sixth, where they added an insurance run on a double steal.
"It was a great experience, and I wish my entire team could have been here to see how these guys bounced back this week," Newkirk said. "I want to thank the Heartland Classic for giving us an opportunity to be a part of it."
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