Baseball takes ECU, goes against Southern

By Jared A’Lattore, Sports Editor

The Bison baseball team took a big win against East Central University, while taking two losses and another win against Southeastern Oklahoma State. 

The Bison won against ECU two weeks ago on their home field, 13-2. There were five pitchers for the Bison combining seven strikeouts. They only gave up one hit to the ECU Tigers. P.J. Harris finished with a double, and Eric Carlson finished with two doubles. Brett Bloomfield finished was hot on the day, finishing with four at-bats and four hits. Bloomfield went for a triple in one of his hits and was not slowing down all game long.

Jake Gozzo hit a home run giving major momentum to the Bison. Pitcher Hudson Pearson picked up the win as a reliever, and the Bison won the game by a whooping 11 runs.  

During one of their road games against Southeastern, the Bison were staying in the game throughout much of the contest, even when they were down 2-0. Kiamana Bartolome hit a solo home run to cut the lead down to 2-1. Later in the game, Southeastern connected on a home run of their own and another score after that. Southeastern won that game, 5-1.  

During the first game of their doubleheader against Southeastern, the Bison were clicking on all cylinders just like they did a few days back. They won the game with multiple batters contributing. Bloomfield, Ramon Enriquez, Garrett McKee, Brock Carter, and Joey Pledger all hit for doubles in the game.

Harris, Enriquez and McKee all hit for home runs in the game. This was a rout for the Bison, 11-3. Thomas Shroder picked up the win. It was Shroder’s first win of the year.  

The second game of the doubleheader called for payback from Southeastern. Southeastern took a 9-0 lead by the fourth inning. 

Gozzo continued to show his worth with a home run shot in the game, but the Bison fell way short this time. Southeastern picked up an 11-3 win over the Bison.  

Shroder believes that the team has its strengths such as the pitching and the veteran leadership to show that the elite is rising again in 2019.  

“One [strength] being the 12 seniors, including myself, that we have on the roster who have all played together and know what it takes to win a conference tournament and play past that,” Shroder said. “Two, I think we have a deep pitching staff which is something that not having hurt us last year, as well as another very talented lineup.” 

With the season still young, the team is hoping to find its strength and use it to beat teams across the conference and so forth.  

I’m not too sure we have any glaring weaknesses, I think you’ll start to see several guys catch stride as the season goes along and we’ll continue to play knowing we’re the best team in the GAC,” Shroder said.  

Having the strength of not hitting balls, but the mental capacity in which they do it in is very important.  

“We know we’re talented enough as a team to beat anyone in this league at any given time and so it all comes down to having confidence in the work we’ve all put in and our approach when we get the ball/bat in our hands,” Shroder said.  

The team is all about taking one at a time to get back to where they were last year.  

“To get back to an NCAA Regional, we have to go take care of business this weekend at NWOSU and then continue to take the season one game at a time,” Shroder said. 

While the Bison would have loved to have a better start going into 2019, they understand that it is a process to be where they want to be like last season.  

There’s a lot of upside with this group and the coaching staff looks forward to the strides they’ll make throughout the season and the finished product we’ll end up with in May,” Assistant Coach Christopher Cox said. 

The Bison are looking forward to getting better whether it is in practice or games.  

“I think one thing that sticks out especially with the slow start we’ve gotten off to is their resilience,” Cox said. “They come to work every day hungry, looking to get this thing going in the right direction.” 

Cox notices how important the veteran leadership is to the squad. They will look to lead the team to another birth in the Division II postseason.   

“They understand the culture that’s been built here and understand its importance in the winning tradition the program has, Cox said. “Couldn’t be more pleased with this group of guys in how they represent the university, the coaching staff, and themselves.” 


Student preacher excited for opportunity

By Kedrick Nettleton, Faith Editor

thomas 2
Courtesy Photo/The Baptist Messenger Thomas Shroder to preach in chapel March 6 as student preacher

For Thomas Shroder, the comparison between the preaching pulpit and the pitching mound is an apt one.  

Pastoral Ministries and Apologetics major here at OBU – as well as a pitcher on the baseball team – he has been caught in a balancing act between his call to ministry and his competitive fire ever since stepping foot on Bison Hill. 

This March, that balancing act is being rewarded, as Shroder has been selected by the theology department to represent them as a student preacher in chapel on March 6. 

The story of Shroder’s call to the ministry is a long one. A natural athlete in California growing up, he took to baseball immediately, and it became the driving force in his life.  

“Baseball was all I wanted to do,” he said. “And so much of my identity, growing up, got wrapped up in that.”  

It was baseball that paved the way for Shroder’s college journey, as he began playing at a junior college in his home state of Arizona.

After transferring to the University of Texas at Arlington – where his major was Economics and ministry was far from his mind – Shroder experienced his first big sports injury, prompting him to consider for the first time what a life without baseball would look like.  

“I really felt God saying, ‘If I took away baseball from you, you’d have nothing.’” Shroder said. “It was my whole identity, and I knew it was going to let me down.”  

Having grown up as the son of a youth minister and a worship leader, Shroder had been around the teachings of Christianity his whole life, but had never really embraced the lifestyle modeled to him by his parents.  

“I just sort of adopted their faith,” he said. “That made itself very clear when I got to high school and junior college. Church was just something I did on Sundays, and I ran to the world.” 

Forced to take time off from baseball while recovering from his injury at UTA, Shroder began to take his relationship with the Lord seriously, and he began to feel a calling on his life that went far beyond baseball and economics.  

Pursuing this calling with the spiritual mentors in his life, Shroder became convinced that God was seriously commanding him to a life in ministry, and when God opened the doors for him to transfer to OBU, Shroder jumped at the chance, abandoning economics for the theology department and beginning work as a supply preacher in his hometown and some of the areas surrounding Shawnee.  

These opportunities to preach on Sundays have allowed Shroder the chance to hone his abilities, as well as to test the calling on his life and confirm it. Once unsure that he wanted to serve officially at a church, Shroder now feels confident in that direction.  

“I’m sure that’s where everything is headed at this point,” he said. “Over the last year I’ve seen… certain gifts and talents that the Lord has given me really manifest themselves behind the pulpit in a way that it’s just really solidified that calling for me.” 

As to being chosen as the student preacher for 2019, Shroder confesses that he didn’t expect the honor. 

“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “It’s an honor…it’s really cool to be affirmed in that way from your mentors, your professors.”  

For Heath Thomas, the Dean of Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, it was the dedication Shroder displays that made him a natural choice.  

Thomas exhibits a deep commitment to Jesus, a clear call to ministry, and he faithfully labors to be the person that God has called him to be,” Dean Thomas said. “All of the women and men in Hobbs College are extraordinary in their call and commitment to Jesus; we are delighted that Thomas will represent them as he proclaims the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ from God’s Word.” 

Shroder compares his nerves at preaching in chapel – which will undoubtedly be the biggest crowd he’s stood in front of – to those he feels before taking the mound.  

“I’m excited,” he said. “I think it’ll be just like on the mound. It’ll be a deep breath, and then let’s get after it.”  

That excitement, and the nerves that accompany it, is tempered by the fact that Shroder knows the results won’t be up to him.  

“It’s not even necessarily me,” he said I’m just excited for what the Lord’s going to do.” 

Shroder keeps his goals for the chapel message simple – and they’re the same goals that he has every time he preaches.  

“I want to preach the word clearly and concisely so that the Spirit is free to move as he wills,” he said.  

He also knows that preaching is only half of the battle. The other half comes from the example he sets in life, especially in the context of baseball and as he prepares to be a leader in a congregation.  

The challenge is always just living authentically,” Shroder said. “It’s a challenge to portray and live out Christianity as a viable option in your life.”  

Ephesians 1:15-23 is the text that Shroder plans on preaching from, and the density of those verses is a challenge that he relishes.  

“[It’s] a lot,” he said. “It’s going to be a task to pull it off in 25 or 30 minutes.”  

After March 6 – and after graduation – Shroder has immediate plans, but his long-term future is up in the air. The one thing he knows is what he wants to be doing.  

“I just want to feed the flock,” he said. “I want to be of service to the church in whatever capacity… being a pastor is a full-time job. It’s a lifestyle.”  

Shroder will portray that lifestyle for the rest of his days, and on March 6 he will portray it in front of the entire university.  

Bison clinch playoffs with three game sweep

By Jared L’Attore, Contributing Writer (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Bison are playoff bound after concluding their regular season against Southern Nazarene in a three-game series which included Senior Day on Saturday.

The Bison clinched a spot to compete in the Great American Conference (GAC) tournament.

The winner of the tournament will go on to compete in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Senior Zane Gelphman believes that his team has a good shot in the tournament if they do their job on defense.

“In order to go far into the tournament and win, we need to be clean on defense and not allow any free bases. If we take care of the baseball, our hitting and pitching will do their part,” Gelphman said.

OBU has done a splendid job hitting the baseball in the past week. They ended their regular season against Southern Nazarene with a sweep.

Last Friday, Southern Nazarene came into town to take on OBU. The Bison came out roaring through 14 consecutive runs to start the game.

In the first inning of play, junior Jake Gozzo connected on an RBI single. Junior PJ Harris also singled and brought in a run. Senior Matt Poulin connected on a double that brought in two. This was only the beginning of the party for the Bison.

In the third inning, Gelphman hit a line drive down the left field line that went for an inside the park home run. The score was five to nothing through three innings. Senior Josh Timms connected on a double for one run to score. In the fifth inning, the Bison erupted. Poulin hit a single to score in a run.

The Bison also took advantage of errors and scored. They scored on an error, a walk, and a fielder’s choice. Gelphman hit for a double that scored in two, and junior Kaden Betsch also connected on a double that brought in another run.

It was 14-0 after five innings. Southern Nazarene scored three consecutive runs in the sixth inning. In the bottom half of the sixth, Timms, Gozzo, and Gelphman all connected on RBI hits, with Gelphman hitting another double.

Poulin continued his party on a triple with two runs. Junior Brett Bloomfield joined the party on an RBI single. Poulin and Gelphman were on a clinic, going four of five. The Bison won, 20-6. Redshirt Freshman pitcher Caleb Bly earned his sixth win of the season.

In the first game of doubleheader on Senior Day, the Bison trailed one to nothing until junior Brock Carter hit an RBI bunt. Before the bottom 6th, OBU found themselves down 2-1. Poulin scored on a sacrifice fly out from senior Brett Burghammer.

In the seventh inning, Gozzo and Poulin connected on homers. The score was 5-2 at the end of the seventh. In the eighth inning with the Bison leading by two runs, Timms contributed on an RBI after a sacrifice fly out. It was the second run scored from a sacrifice fly out in the game.

Senior Juan Gonzalez hit a home run on his lone hit of the game. The Bison won the first game 7-3.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Bison erupted in the scoring column after being down 1-0.

In the bottom first, the Bison found themselves down 1-0 until Gelphman connected on a double for two runs to score. In the third inning, again it was Gelphman this time with an RBI single.

In the fourth inning, the Bison kept pounding with more hits. Bloomfield and junior Garrett McKee contributed to RBI hits. The Bison were up 5-1 at the end of the fourth inning.

Southern Nazarene answered on three consecutive runs. In the bottom of the sixth, the game was tied. Timms hit a clutch two-run homer to give the Bison a two-point lead to eventually win the game 7-5.

The Bison have won four straight games and will be heading to Enid for the GAC championship taking place next Saturday and Sunday.

Bison baseball sits at fifth in conference

By Jared L’Attore, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletics)

With the season coming to an end, the Bison will be playoff-bound if they can get into the top eight spots in the Great American Conference (GAC).

Now, the Bison are fifth in their conference. They have a 17-10 conference record, and a 25-15 overall record. The Bison also have a .500-win percentage at home and on the road.

As of now, they are three wins above the eighth seed. They have three games left, with one series remaining. With the Bison winning their last five of seven games, they are showing why they can make a statement come postseason time.

This will be the first year that the Bison will be eligible for play in the postseason in the GAC.

They will face Southern Nazarene University for a single game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday. Saturday will be an emotional day on Bison Hill for Senior Day.

This will be a day to celebrate the senior players for their efforts on the field throughout their college career.

Last Tuesday, East Central came into town to take on the Bison. The Bison made a statement in this game.

The hit party began in the second inning, with homers by juniors Jake Gozzo and PJ Harris, and senior Zane Gelphman.

Senior Juan Gonzalez contributed with an RBI single hit that brought in two.

The score was 8-0 at the end of the second inning. Gozzo and Harris kept the hit party going with an RBI triple by Gozzo, and an RBI single by Harris.

Senior Brett Berghammer contributed with a single that brought in two. Gelphman flied out but scored in a run.

The final score in that game was 13-1 in favor of the Bison.

Last Friday, the Bison traveled to Durant to take on Southeastern Oklahoma University. The Bison started out strong in the second inning with a fly out from senior Matt Poulin that led to a run. While the Bison struck first, Southeastern Oklahoma put up five runs in the third inning.

In the fourth inning, Gozzo kept his hot streak going with a solo home run to cut the lead. Later in the sixth inning with the Bison trailing by four runs, Gozzo hit another home run to cut the lead again. That would not be it for him. After senior Josh Timms connected on a double scoring in three runs, Gozzo connected on a single and led to another run being scored on an error. Southeastern scored on a walk off hit and the Bison lost by a score of 8-7.

In the second game of the doubleheader, OBU found themselves trailing early, but they struck back. Berghammer hit a single, which led to a run scored. Timms doubled which led to two runs scored. Gonzalez and Gozzo connected on homers as well. OBU was up seven to one in the third inning. In the fouth inning, Gonzalez hit another home run to have his second homer of the game. Southeastern scored on five unanswered runs that could’ve led to a Bison collapse, but OBU held on to  win the game by a score of 8-7.

The last game of the Southeastern series was cancelled due to rain and will not be rescheduled to a later date.

The Bison have one more series and three more games, all at home against Southern Nazarene. Senior Day will take place Saturday, April 28.

Bison baseball sweeps ECU Tigers

By Jared L’Attore, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy photos/Bison Athletics)


OBU baseball is looking to succeed to their advantage by playing four games at home this past week.

Their home stretch began last Tuesday when Arkansas-Fort Smith came to town to play the Bison.

It was a solid start for the Bison with two homers in first and second innings.

Senior Zane Gelphman and junior Garrett McKee were responsible for the two-run homers leading to a four to nothing lead. Unfortunately, there was not much celebrating after that for the Bison. Fort Smith connected on some hits leading to runs later in the game to eventually tie it at four.

The game went into extra innings and Fort Smith put up a clinic in the 10th inning, scoring 10 runs. Fort Smith won the game and scored 14 unanswered runs in the game.

Friday the 13, the Bison began their series and their first of two doubleheader games against East Central University. Once again, it was a solid start for the Bison with a triple for Gelphman. Senior Josh Timms sacrificed on a groundout leading to another score. Senior Matt Poulin and senior Brett Berghammer also joined the hit party in the first inning as well. Poulin hit a double to bring in one run, and Berghammer hit a single to bring in two runs. The Bison scored six runs in that first inning. Gelphman continued with the hot hand in the second inning with a two-run homer. Junior PJ Harris joined in on the fun as well by hitting a solo home run to make it nine to nothing. Later in the fourth, Berghammer hit a triple scoring in two runs. Junior Brett Bloomfield singled scoring in another run. Later in the sixth inning, senior Juan Gonzalez connected on a single that put in another run. The Bison cruised their way to victory, 13-5.

In the second doubleheader game, the Bison answered on a home run by East Central in the bottom first, with Gonzalez bringing in a run on a groundout.

East Central later scored three unanswered runs in the second inning. In the third inning, junior Jake Gozzo tripled but scored on an error making the game tied at four.

East Central answered back in the fourth by scoring a run off a hit to take the lead. In the bottom half of the fourth, Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to take a two-run lead. In the fifth inning, Berghammer doubled and earned an RBI to put some more breathing room on the lead. The hit party was not over for the Bison yet. Gelphman hit a three-run homer in the fifth, and McKee hit a two-run homer in the sixth. The Bison won the game and the doubleheader against East Central.

On a cold and windy Saturday afternoon, the Bison took on East Central again. The Bison struck first on a sacrifice fly out by Timms. In the second inning, Poulin connected on a two-run homer to give the Bison a three to nothing lead. East Central tried to fight back, but they never lead or even tied in the game. In the eighth inning, Gonzalez connected on a single and scored in a run. OBU won the game, four to two. Freshman Celeb Bly earned his fifth win of the season and earned 11 strikeouts in that game as well.

The Bison will have four more games after their East Central series. They will face Southeastern Oklahoma State on the road and then come back home to face Southern Nazarene for Senior Day for next Saturday, April 21. They stay home with a 23-14 record coming off a three-game win streak.

OBU baseball and softball deal with more weather cancellations

By Nick Dingus and Jared L’Atorre, Sports Editor and Contributing Writer

While OBU baseball is looking to end the season strong, the team has added another co-Player of the Week for this season.

Last Friday, OBU baseball went on the road to Weatherford to face Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Right from the start, Southwestern scored three runs, and then scored two more later in the game to win it five to nothing. Southwestern had nine hits compared to OBU’s four.

Last Monday, junior Jake Gozzo became the second player for OBU Baseball this season to win the Great American Conference (GAC) player of the week award. Junior Brett Bloomfield won the award last month. Gozzo proved himself March 23 when he hit two homers in a losing effort. The next day, Gozzo hit a homer to take the lead in a six to five victory. March 30, Gozzo continued to hit the ball well with a hit and he was also awarded with an RBI in a victory against Northwestern Oklahoma.

The next day against Northwestern, Gozzo performed even better with a home run, a double and three hits of four attempts in a victory for the Bison. In the Northwestern Oklahoma series, Gozzo was able to lead his team to a sweep with a tremendous performance.

The Bison will play their next four games at home against the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on Tuesday, and then three straight home games against East Central University.

The softball team had three of their four games against Southwestern Oklahoma State canceled due to the cold weather last weekend.

The four-game series was supposed to be a pair of home and home doubleheaders with two games played in Weatherford, Friday and two played in Shawnee, Saturday.

The team only made it through the first game in Weatherford before temperatures dropped below 30 degrees, forcing the second game to be suspended. The next day, snow and ice forced yet another cancellation in Shawnee, drawing the season total to ten games canceled due to weather.

The Lady Bison lost their lone game of the weekend 4-3 against the Bulldogs. Bry Flanagan drove in all three runs; Katy Reyes crossed the plate twice while Cheyenne Demaree scored once. The Bison had 12 hits in the game, and had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh inning, but SWOSU turned a double play to end the game.

OBU softball will be back in action in a four game series against East Central University in Ada.

The Bison will play a set of doubleheaders April 13 and April 14. Friday’s games will start at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Saturday’s games at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Bison baseball shuts out Northeastern at home

By Jared L’Atorre, Contributing Writer   (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

OBU Baseball still sits over a .500-win percentage despite the up and down play in the second half of the regular season.

Back on March 13, the Bison took a win against East Central University by 14 runs.

It was a dominant game from the start, with the Bison scoring three runs in the first inning.

It only got better from there for the Bison.

OBU scored five runs in the fifth inning and nine runs in the sixth inning.

Seniors Brett Burghammer and Zane Gelphman along with juniors Jake Gozzo and Austin Cooper connected on a double in that game.

Eight batters connected on a hit while six of them connected on multiple. OBU had 16 hits in the game.

OBU then went on to Harding University and fell in their first game. The Bison led first in the second inning with senior Josh Timms scoring the first run of the game.

The Bison found themselves down three to one in the fifth inning until junior Garrett McKee brought in two runs on a single to tie the game. OBU found themselves down yet again in the ninth and scored on a wild pitch. OBU eventually lost the game on a walk-off walk. The score was five to four in a losing effort.

In their doubleheader back two Saturdays ago, they won the first game, three to nothing.

Gelphman hit a home run in the first inning while one runner was on base, making the score two to nothing.

The second inning piled on their lead after a Burghammer RBI single to make the lead three to nothing.

The damage was done early, and senior pitcher Mychal Yarbor allowed only three hits and picked up eight strikeouts.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Bison were unable to perform the same, and suffered a six to nothing loss.

Starting Monday, March 19, the Bison would be at home for the nearly the next two weeks.

They started out against Northeastern State University. Right from the get-go, OBU trailed early in the game and it did stayed that way for the whole game.

The lone bright part of the game was a home run by Gozzo but it was certainly not enough as OBU fell, eight to two.

In their first game against Arkansas Tech, the Bison were facing a two to nothing deficit in the first. In the second inning, Timms scored in two runs as he was responsible for an inside the park home run.

Gozzo hit a home run in the same inning to take the lead. After Tech scored two unanswered runs, the Bison answered back in the fifth and sixth innings with senior Juan Gonzalez hitting a double and bringing in a run.

Gozzo homered once again in the sixth to make it a tie game. Tech went on to score four unanswered runs before the Bison went on a late push to win it, but it was not enough. Senior Matt Poulin and Berghammer hit home runs but it was not enough as the Bison fell short by one run.

In the second game, OBU fell four to seven despite winning the hit battle, the Bison were outscored. In their third game of the series, it was very tight throughout until an error cost Arkansas Tech the game.

Their ticket to victory came with Gonzalez scoring on a wild pitch with the game tied at five. Gozzo continued hot streak with another home run. Gelphman was also responsible for a triple in that game.

Last Friday, the Bison faced Northwestern Oklahoma and put on a rout after being down five to nothing in the top first inning.

They answered furiously by scoring six runs in the bottom half and 15 unanswered for the rest of the game. Poulin and junior PJ Harris hit homers, while McKee hit for a double.

Nearly every player joined the hit party in that victory. In their doubleheader on Saturday against Northwestern Oklahoma, OBU had no issues getting the win in their first game.

They led for most of the time and won the game 15 to 8. Junior Brett Bloomfield hit a homer and stole a base. Gonzalez, Timms, and Gozzo also hit homers, while Timms and Gozzo also connected on a double.

The Bison were also able to get the win in their second doubleheader game, eight to five. OBU scored seven unanswered runs after being down three to one.

Gelphman hit a home run, and Berghammer hit for a double. Senior pitcher Zach Fowler got his fifth win of the season, and OBU got their 20th win of the season.

OBU will go off to Weatherford for Friday and Saturday to take on Southwestern Oklahoma State in their next series. They go back home happy winning the series against Monticello.

Baseball travels to Arkansas-Monticello, takes two of three

By Jared A’Latorre, Contributing Writer   (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletic)

With the season halfway in the books, the Bison are looking to finish off the second half of the season on a great note.

The Bison are looking to punch their ticket into the postseason with ease, but senior Zane Gelphman believes that he and his team have much more to offer down the stretch.

“As of right now, we are 12-6 and haven’t even come close to reaching our potential. I think that we keep getting better each game and we’re going to be a scary team to face entering postseason,” Gelphman said.

Coming off a rough series against Southern Arkansas, the Bison took the first game of their doubleheader and dominated against the University of Central Oklahoma by a score of 16-1.

Gelphman hit two home runs in that game, but he tried not to get extremely comfortable.

“Confidence is a tricky thing because you cannot let your confidence get too high or low based on your performance. Even though I hit two home runs, there have been plenty of times where the bat hasn’t gone my way and I try to keep my confidence fairly consistent at all times,” Gelphman said.

In that same game, junior Brett Bloomfield hit a home run and a double. The team was firing on all cylinders at the plate, and Bloomfield said that the team had a game plan going into that first game against UCO.

“My mindset was to look away and adjust in and lay off any off-speed until two strikes and it payed off not just for me but for the team,” Bloomfield said.

On finishing off the season, Bloomfield said that he and his guys just need to do what they have already been doing, and that is play baseball.

“The mindset for the rest of the year is to play our way of baseball. To put it simply, no free based, put the ball in play and play catch. Our team plays the best when we stick within ourselves,” Bloomfield said.

Despite the solid play of the Bison this year, Bloomfield also said that one of the challenges of his team is playing up and down in games.

“The big challenge so far has been consistent on both hitting and defense. We show great signs from both aspects of the game but fail to consistently come out game in and game out and deliver the way we want to,” Bloomfield said.

The results of the second doubleheader game proved those same words. OBU fell by a score of 2-11 in that game.

However, last Friday they faced the University of Arkansas at Monticello in a doubleheader and won the first game by a score of 8-7.

Gelphman, along with junior PJ Harris singled in the first inning and junior first baseman Jake Gozzo sacrificed on a fly out to bring in another run to make it a four-run lead in the first inning.

Monticello came roaring back by scoring four unanswered runs to tie it. Gelphman broke the tie on a RBI single to make it five to four.

Monticello came back with a three run homer to take the lead. In the bottom eighth inning, senior catcher Juan Gonzalez was hit by a pitch, and Harris brought in two runs on a single to eventually win in for OBU.

Monticello was able to get back OBU in the second doubleheader game. Monticello took the game six to three.

On Saturday, OBU led a furious rally in the top ninth inning after being down to win it seven to six.

They go back home happy winning the series against Monticello.

Baseball team takes two of three from Henderson State

By Jared A’ Latorre, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Bison went one and one this weekend in their two game series against Henderson State.

In their first game of the doubleheader, the Bison never trailed and won the game by a score of four to two.

Senior outfielder Josh Timms hit a single to bring in the first run of the game.

Later in the second inning, senior outfielder Brett Berghammer doubled to bring in two runs.

In the fourth inning, junior infielder Garrett Mckee doubled and brought in another run to make the score four to nothing. The Reddies of Henderson State attempted to come back by scoring two unanswered runs, but it was not enough.

The Bison finished with 10 hits in that game and won it four to two. Junior Pitcher Albertus Barber got his fourth win of the season, and Senior Pitcher Nick Burnham got credit for the save in that win.

In the second game of the doubleheader, The Bison could not come up with same results.

They suffered a three to four loss. OBU started out strong, opening the game with three runs in the first inning. Timms singled to center field and junior first baseman Kaden Betsch singled to left field and scored in two runs.

The Bison were up by a score of three to zero when Henderson State led a furious rally to come back and win it.

The Reddies worked from when they were down in the first inning and never looked back.

They took the lead in the fifth inning and the scoring was done from there. Senior pitcher Zach Fowler took his first loss of the season. With a 9-3 record, they are looking to rebound from this loss and continue their quest to the postseason.

The Bison will be back in action February 27th against Cameron University, and again this weekend when Southern Arkansas University comes to town for a three game series. Southern Arkansas is currently tied with OBU in the Great American Conference standings with a 10-4 (5-1) record on the season.

With a win against Cameron on Tuesday, the Bison will enter the weekend series winning three of their last four. However, the Muleriders could enter the weekend with a five game winning streak. First, they will have to get wins against East Central on Monday and Mississippi College on Tuesday.

Baseball team looks past NCCAA title towards NCAA future

By Jared A’Latorre, Contributing Writer   (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletics)

With the season nearly in full swing, Oklahoma Baptist University’s baseball team is looking to continue their success and defend their NCCAA World Series title.

The baseball team is coming off back-to-back NCCAA (National Christian Athletic Association) championships and are looking to step up and add a NCAA title to their collection.

Seniors Josh Timms, Brett Burghammer, Juan Gonzalez, and Zane Gelphman are top hitters who Coach Bobby Cox believes that their team can succeed again this season.

“We have a real good core coming back. Returning those four core guys were extremely important to us,” Cox said.

This will be the first year that the Bison will be eligible joining the postseason for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division II, and will no longer compete in the NCCAA tournament. Cox thinks that the past two seasons have brought the best of out his players.

“That was a really good time for us being able to win back-to-back national championships. It was a very enjoyable run both times,” Cox said.

Even though the change from NCCAA to NCAA is a big one this year, Cox still believes that the expectations for his players this year are just like any other.

“Our goals for this year are pretty much [the same] as they are every year; to win conference, make [the] postseason, and hopefully play on a national level,” Cox said.

Cox believes that he knows what to expect to see out on the field during the regular season, but not as much as on the biggest stage.

“This being our first year [in the NCAA], we’re still trying to feel our way of what to expect. I think we know what to expect on the conference level, but on the national level we’ve never been there before, so it’s kind of an unknown deal,” Cox said.

Cox still wants his players to continue play at the same level this season alike with the past two seasons.“ The last two years we finished third in the conference and we hope to continue to play at that level and get into the conference tournament and just see where it takes us. It’s definitely part of the goals and mindset of the group,” Cox said.

Gelphman is on the same page with Cox about what to expect for the upcoming season. “The great thing about this team is that we are all on board with our team goals and expectations. Every game we play [there] is the expectation of winning, no matter the opponent, and we work everyday with the hopes that all of our efforts will lead to a national championship,” Gelphman said.

Gelphman says he believes that the team chemistry is unlike any other. He thinks this special group of players had started connecting even before the season.

“The minute we all got here and started practicing, we all knew that this team was different. By the start of the season, we had probably grown closer as a team than most teams do in a full season.”

Gelphman, like his coach, believes that the challenge of competing for a World Series will be tougher now than ever before, but the team’s chemistry will be key to another possible World Series title.

On the other hand, while injuries have set back the baseball team on the pitching side, the team is looking to fight through that and execute as much as possible on offense and on coaching.

“One thing we’ve had to overcome as of late is four of our pitchers being sidelined with injury, leaving only seven active pitchers. Even though it will be a grind, we all have faith in our pitching staff to pull through,” Gelphman said.

Gelphman believes that if there ever was a team to compete to win an NCAA championship in their first year, it would be his team.

“I don’t think any of us have ever been on a team like this, where every single person is pulling for each other towards one common goal. It’s hard to all be on the same page with so many guys from so many different backgrounds, but out team has something special and we’re definitely not going to I take it for granted,” Gelphman said.

The baseball team will be in action this weekend at home with games against GAC rival Ouachita Baptist on Friday and Saturday. The Bison will be home again on Tuesday versus the River Hawks of Northeastern State.