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Patriots to use experience in first round of state tourney

To some, Southwest Covenant’s road to the state tournament may be a surprise, and that’s exactly what they wanted.

At the end of the regular season the Patriots were 9-13 but since then they’ve been on a tear, winning six out of seven postseason games.

To the team, the state appearance doesn’t come as a surprise, and the record doesn’t either.

“We have had a running debate on how to do the scheduling,” coach Jeff Deckard said. “Do you schedule to win 22 games and host district and regionals or do you play a schedule like ours, come in with 12 wins but be seasoned? So far, it’s worked out in the last two years where we’re seasoned and not have much of a record.”

With a poor record, Covenant went to Okarche for the district tournament and Vici for the regional. They were victorious in both attempts, setting the stage for state.

Whereas the Patriots often find themselves traveling for regular season games, state will be held at a familiar site.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be at Palmer Field Dolese in Oklahoma City, where Southwest Covenant plays their home games.

For a team designed to not host a playoff game, they’ll get a familiar feeling against Wright City Thursday.

“I couldn’t care less about how many wins, how many losses,” Deckard said. “I don’t care much about batting averages or ERA. I don’t give a rip about any of that. All I want to know is that they get out there and compete, that’s all I care about.”

Last season the Patriots made their first state tournament appearance in school history, taking a first round loss to Leedey. This year, things should be different.

“I don’t think we did anything wrong but we know what we need to do right in order to compete,” senior Cole Shaw said. “We need to play as a team and play for each other. We need to all work together. It’s like a machine, if a part doesn’t working, it won’t work.”

By Monday, the team didn’t have much information on Wright City.

“I know zero about them,” Deckard said. “I know they’re down by McAlester, I don’t know anything about them. I assume they’re a lot like Leedey last year. They’ve probably got a really good pitcher who throws hard. I think the seasoned veterans from this bunch will really step up.”

No matter what kind of team they face, Deckard said the goal stays the same.

“The game plan is simply, score one run, get three outs every inning.”

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