By Michael Kinney,
OKLAHOMA CITY — Garrett Benge was in the pile somewhere. When the Oklahoma State got the final out of the Big 12 Championship to win the title, the players created a human dog pile at the pitches mound and Benge was somewhere trapped in the middle at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark Sunday.
“I got goose bumps,” Benge said. “Because this is the best conference in baseball right now. To play the best and beat all those good teams that we beat says a lot about our team and the type of baseball we played this weekend.”
Benge and his OSU teammates had a right to be excited. Their 6-5 win over Texas in the tournament finale was the culmination of two weeks where every single game their postseason lives were on the line.
The Pokes had to win the final two games of the regular season against Oklahoma just to earn a spot in the eight-team Big 12 Championship. Once they were in, they defeated the likes of Texas Tech, West Virginia and Texas, who all were going to the NCAA tournament.
“For us as a team, the highs and lows that we’ve had this season that we’ve experienced on both sides, this for our team is huge,” Benge said. “Basically, we had to win the whole thing to keep on playing. So, we took it upon our team as a challenge. We accomplished it, man.”
What made the crowning moment even more special for Benge was being able to win the title in front of his family, friends and fans who traveled from Yukon to watch him play.
“It’s awesome playing in your hometown,” said Benge. “Being able to see a lot of familiar faces, people rooting me on. It’s indescribable. I am really blessed to have that chance to do it.”
Benge has been one of the key figures in the OSU lineup that has gotten them to this point. The former Yukon High standout is second in the team with a .319 batting average. During the regular season, he tied for the team lead in homers (9) and led outright in RBIs (51).
“Personally, I think I’ve had a really great season,” Benge said.
After earning a spot in the regional round, Benge wants to see the momentum carry over into the postseason. The Pokes head to Arkansas for the regional tournament. Along with the Razorbacks, OSU will face where they will face Missouri State and Oral Roberts for the right to advance to the Super Regionals and onto to Omaha for the College Worlds Series.
Seven of the 9 Big 12 teams that have a baseball program made it into the postseason. That includes Oklahoma, which is heading to Louisville for regionals.
“We just don’t change a thing,” Benge said. “Individually, maybe a minor adjustment here along the way. I really like where we are as a baseball team right now. Everyone is swinging the bat well, we playing good defense. Our pitching is phenomenal. Those are the key things to keep advancing week by week.”