Yukon baseball: Millers capture regional championship, carry momentum into state tournament

When the season began, no one from around the state expected much from Yukon baseball this year.

The Millers had graduated a large number of seniors and didn’t have a lot of varsity experience coming back for the 2017 season.

However, Yukon has been one of the bright spots on the diamond across the state this year. The Millers have 27 wins, including three in the regional tournament they hosted at the end of last week, as they captured another regional title for head coach Kevin James.

“I’m very proud of these guys,” James said. “They really battled their tails off and they have done that all year. We played a really tough schedule to get 27 wins out that schedule is really impressive and a testament to how hard these young men work every day.”

Yukon defeated Edmond Memorial on Thursday by a score of 4-1, which eliminated the Bulldogs after they had lost an extra-inning affair to Midwest City. Following the elimination of Memorial, it was on to winners’ bracket match up with the Bombers.

Midwest City jumped out early on the Millers but Yukon woke up in the fourth inning. They scored 14 runs in the fourth and fifth-innings to secure the run-rule victory and advanced to the regional championship game on Friday.

Yukon would play MWC for the second time in as many days in the regional final but the Millers had to win just one against the Bombers and Midwest City would have to beat YHS twice to move on to the state tournament.

The Millers struck first, as they built an early 4-0 lead on MWC and looked like they were well on their way to clinching a spot in the 6A state baseball tournament but the Bombers has other ideas.

Midwest City scored four runs in the fourth inning to tie the game and it would stay tied until the bottom of the sixth-inning with senior captain Cross Factor drove in two runs with a bases-clearing double in the right-center gap. Yukon would get one more run across the board in the inning and then close the door on MWC in the top of the seventh-inning to secure the victory.

With the regional title in hand, the Millers now shift their focus to trying to get three more wins in the 6A state tournament to try and win the 6A state baseball championship.

Yukon will take on Jenks at 2 p.m. Thursday at Choctaw High School. If they beat the Trojans, they will take on the winner of Owasso and Mustang at noon on Friday and then if they win that game, they will play the winner of the other side of the bracket in the 6A state baseball championship game at noon on Saturday at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

Out of the seven other teams in the state tournament field, the Millers have played six of the them in games this season and have beaten five of them this year.

This will be their second match up of the season with Jenks. Their first contest was at Jenks in the Tiger-Trojan Classic back in March. Yukon won that game 8-4.

The Millers are 1-0 against Mustang this year, 1-0 against Broken Arrow, 1-0 against Norman North, 1-2 against Deer Creek and are 0-2 against Westmoore. Owasso is the only team Yukon hasn’t seen this season in a game but they did face the Rams in a scrimmage before the regular season began in 2017.

“We are a confident group right now,” James said. “I tell my guys all the time that this is bonus baseball and not everyone gets to play in this tournament. We always say, it’s not about our opponent, it’s about us and how we play. We are looking forward to this opportunity and hopefully play our best baseball.”

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