Pair reflects on Tigers District Title win, state of team heading into playoffs

Apr. 25—Getting to a District championship wasn't a cake walk for the Tahlequah Tigers baseball team against Sapulpa.

THS won the first game 10-7 and game two 2-1, to take the District championship.

Facing off against a strong pair of starting pitchers, the Tigers were able to get runs at opportune times.

"The part that I am more focused on more than the score was how we performed in pressure situations," THS head coach Cody Pair said. "When the game was in critical stages, our guys stayed composed. They made pitches and plays and swings when we needed to. Their left-hander had given up 3 runs all year, I believe, and for us to score on him and get him out of the game like that was a big deal."

Senior starting pitcher Brayden Northington was key for the win over SHS in game two of the series.

In a tight 2-0 game, SHS was knocking on the door in the sixth inning. Despite walking in a run, Northington stepped up to get out of a bases-loaded situation to send the Tigers to the seventh inning.

"He pitched out of some trouble a couple of times and our defense played really well behind him," Pair said. "It was not a surprise to me; he has had a tough demeanor and a great mound presence all year long. I was proud of him and the entire team that they didn't panic in that situation, but stayed composed and took it one pitch at a time, and we found a way to get out of it."

The win in game two clinched the District title. It marks the first for the Tigers, who are new to the district formatting this season.

"Sapulpa is a really good team and has two really good district starters," Pair said. "I feel like beating them shows how hard our team is playing and how much better they have gotten. It's a testament to how hard the team has worked. The District championship is a big deal, but it's just a step on the way to the goals this team has set."

After Districts, the Tigers sit with an 18-11 record.

"As a coach, I always am looking for things to improve on. That being said, this is the best position we can get in," Pair said. "Winning District is the best we can finish. Our goal all year is to be playing our best baseball right now, and I feel like we are. Our guys are working hard every day and they are playing so hard. I couldn't be more proud of them and I am so excited about starting playoffs next week."

While it is not official yet, the Tigers are expected to host Booker T. Washington and Durant for their Regionals. Those teams will start the Regional and then the Tigers will play the loser first, then turn around and play the winners.

"I think our guys are ready and are relishing this opportunity to compete for a Regional Championship and I couldn't be more proud as their coach," Pair said.

Follow live sports coverage @JakeSermershein on Twitter