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2010 Season Wrap Up:
Squad sweeps west coast events during brilliant 59-7 campaign
Oklahoma Travelers | December 31st, 2010
PHOTO (L TO R) BACK ROW - Heath Ritchie (coach), Kevin Farr (coach), Connor Cook, Travis Caraway, Cale Elam, Riley Tracy, Drew Ward, Dan Edwards, Gregg Ward (coach), Dayne Parker, Slate Olmstead. FRONT ROW - Braden Cook, Brendan McCurry, Marc White, Clayton Green, Tyler Palmer, Austin King, Charlie Curl, Brycen Shoaf.
The 2010 season was another historic chapter in the now 47-year history of the Traveler program. The squad made its mark in more ways than one. What set it apart most was its pitching dominance, its fielding prowessÉand its ability to withstand long road trips covering thousands of miles.
While the offense was more than capable of producing big run totals, it was dominant pitching that helped the Travelers win all but one of the tournaments it played in during the summer. The staff ERA of 2.28 was the lowest in team history. The group also set new team records for most strikeouts per game (7.4) and fewest runs allowed per game (2.8).
The defense was also arguably the best in team history, setting new records for fewest errors per game (0.96) and highest fielding percentage (.965). That pitching and defense, to go along with an always potent Traveler lineup, was a recipe for huge success in 2010. The team tore out of the gates, winning its first 17 games.
The team arrived in Pueblo, Colorado for its annual trip to the Tony Andenucio tournament with a 21-2 record and snatched back the title, having failed to reach the bracket round in 2009. The Travelers defeated Cherry Creek 14-3 in the semifinals and Durango Four Corners Thunder 5-1 in the finals for its fourth Andenucio crown in five years (impressive considering the team one just one 'Nuch title in its first 29 years in the tournament).
From there the squad zipped over to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Razorback Classic where it went 3-2 before embarking on the longest single drive in the team's history -- a 31-consecutive-hour drive from Fayetteville, AR to Reno, NV. The squad arrived in Reno just in time to start the Sierra Nevada Classic, where it swept the competition with a 6-0 weekend to win that tournament for the second time in three years.
After a 24-hour drive back home, the Travelers went 4-0 in a rain-shortened Route 66 Classic tournament on its home field in Elk City before preparing for the final tournament of the season in sunny Southern California (see below for that tournament recap)
Travelers win USABF title in Southern California
An already superb season finished with a bang as the Travelers completed 2010 with a brilliant performance in Southern California, winning the prestigious USABF World Series title in San Diego. The USABF crown was the third for the 2010 squad, which also won championships at Pueblo, Colorado (Andenucio Tournament) and Reno, Nevada (Sierra Classic).
Austin King twirled a complete game, two-hit masterpiece to give the Travelers the USABF crown over Seattle-based power, and previously unbeaten, Taylor Baseball. The 16-year-old southpaw struck out four and walked two in the 82-pitch effort, which came just hours after the Travelers won a 9am elimination contest.
The Travelers scored all three runs in the third inning as Drew Ward singled and Dayne Parker walked in front of a two-out RBI single by Clayton Green and two-run double from Daniel Edwards. Ward, Green and Edwards all finished with two hits apiece.
The Travelers finished off the eight-day tournament with a 9-2 record. They secured the two-seed by going 5-1 in pool play and followed up with a 4-1 mark in the CWS-style double-elimination bracket format.
King had a phenomenal tournament, winning two games while allowing just one earned run in 14 innings of work over three games. Cale Elam (12 innings, two earned runs) and Dan Edwards also picked up two pitching wins.
Brendan McCurry got the squad to the championship game with a complete game effort in a 4-1 win Saturday morning. He also had a save in the tournament, but it was his bat that did the most damage, pacing the offense with a team-high 19 hits, five homeruns and 18 RBI in the eight-day event. He batted .475 in the tournament.
Dayne Parker and Elam also had hot bats, each tallying 13 RBI in the tournament while Charlie Curl knocked in 12 runs while scoring 14 and hitting .462 with three homeruns for the week.
Parker shined in the field from his shortstop position, racking up a team-high 42 assists. Catcher Tyler Palmer was a workhorse as well, catching all 11 games while throwing out 5 of 7 would be base-stealers and picking off two others.
Brendan McCurry (Roff) - Improved his resume as one of the greatest all-around Travelers of all-time with another brilliant season on the mound, at the plate and in centerfield and second base defensively. The Tupelo native hit .441 on the season and led the club in at-bats (211), runs (65), hits (93), doubles (24), homeruns (18) and RBI (83). On the mound, Brendan was just as dominant, going 8-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 88 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 62 innings. He was also the only player to play in all 66 games of the season. In fact, since the start of the 2008 season, McCurry has played in all 211 Traveler games (believed to be a team record for consecutive games played). He earned Tourney MVP honors at both the Andenucio tournament in Pueblo, CO and the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, NV.
Cale Elam (Oktaha) - The Wichita State signee was the anchor of the pitching staff. Elam proved to be an automatic win on the mound as he was 12-0 in 12 starts with 10 complete games, four shutouts, a 1.14 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. He struck out 123 batters against just 18 walks in 79 innings of work with opponents batting just .183. It all added up to one of the cleanest and most dominant individual pitching seasons in team history. Elam was selected as the MVP pitcher of the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, going 2-0 in the tournament, allowing just five hits and striking out 18 in 14 innings of work, including a 2-1 win in the championship game against Medford, Oregon. Cale also did damage with the bat, hitting .466 with 11 doubles, six homeruns and 37 RBI in 73 at-bats.
Dayne Parker (Roff) - One of the best shortstops in team history, Parker finished a three-year Traveler career with 245 hits, 31 homeruns, 193 RBI and 381 assists to just 40 errors in 194 games played. He is one of just a handful of Travelers to ever man the three-hole of the lineup for three consecutive seasons. The Wichita State signee had remarkable hands at shortstop and never met a bad hop he couldn't field. He won MVP defensive honors at the Sierra Nevada tournament in Reno, NV and MVP hitter honors at the Andenucio tournament in Pueblo, CO. He also chipped in a 2-0 record on the mound, allowing zero runs in 15 innings of spot duty.
Charlie Curl (Amarillo, TX) - Finished up his two-year Traveler career with a splendid stat line, including team-leading totals in average (.494), triples (6), stolen bases (16) and slugging percentage (.896). His 12 homers were good for second on the club and his 52 RBI was third-most. The Texas A&M signee also played elite defense at five different positions (third base, second base and all three outfield spots). He will likely be most remembered by teammates for his infectious smile and his ability to always be in a good mood.
Travis Caraway (Durant) - A late addition to the team, Caraway originally figured to do more pitching than anything else, but quickly took over first base and the five-hole in the lineup with a potent bat from the left side. Travis hit at a .435 clip and produced seven homeruns and 43 RBI in 57 games. He was selected to the All-Tournament team in the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, NV. On the mound the southpaw was 2-0 with a 3.08 ERA in nine innings of relief work.
Clayton Green (Berryhill) - The little brother of former Traveler great Dean Green, Clayton carved out his own space of Traveler territory with a second consecutive stellar year in the outfield. The everyday right-fielder hit .413 on the season with 57 hits, 12 doubles, two homeruns, 12 stolen bases and team leading totals of 18 hit-by-pitches and nine sacrifices. He was also
Dan Edwards (Verden) - The consummate "little-bit-of-everything" guy, Edwards helped the team win all over the field. He easily led the pitching staff with 22 appearances in 66 games, oftentimes being a one-man bullpen. He went 6-3 on the mound with a 1.51 ERA, four saves and 52 strikeouts in 51 innings of work. At the plate Dan hit at a .366 clip in 82 at-bats, with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers and 25 RBI. His walkoff three-run homer beat Yakima, Washington in the first game of the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, NV, helping the Travelers get off to a good start in a tournament they eventually won. His versatility translated to defense too, where he played first base, outfield, infield and catcher at various points of the summer.
Tyler Palmer (El Reno) - Solidified himself as one of the best catchers in team history with a magnificent defensive effort behind the plate in 2010. Palmer had complete control of calling pitches for a staff that proved to be the most efficient in Traveler history. He racked up 417 putouts behind the dish to go along with 37 assists and just four errors. The Neosho County JC signee improved his numbers at the plate as well, hitting .298 with 10 doubles, nine homeruns and 37 RBI in 56 games.
Drew Ward (Leedey) - Despite being just 15 years old and coming out of the 8th grade to begin the season, Ward proved why he might just be the best young player to ever wear the Traveler uniform. Having yet to ever play a high school game, the son of former Traveler player and coach Gregg Ward looked oftentimes dominant against pitchers four and five years his senior. He finished with a .368 average with 15 doubles, four triples, eight homeruns and 45 RBI in 155 at-bats. He split time between all four infield positions defensively and quickly rose to the two-hole hitter by midway through the season. Scouts throughout the season were starstruck by Ward's size (6-3, 190), hitting ability, arm strength and defensive skill at such a young age. He has a great shot at being the highest drafted Traveler ever in 2014.
Austin King (Canyon, TX) - The 16 year old southpaw missed much of the season due to being at other events on the east coast, but in 31 innings of work with the Travelers, the Canyon, TX native showed why he is one of the hottest young players in the program with a stellar stat line against stiff competition. King beat arguably the two toughest teams on the schedule at the end-of-the-year tournament in San Diego, CA. First it was a 5-1 victory over the powerhouse San Diego Show (with 13 draft picks on that team). He allowed just five hits in five innings in that one. He followed that up with a 82-pitch complete game effort against Seattle-based power Taylor Baseball in the tournament finale, allowing just two hits in seven innings to help bring home the USABF title. He allowed just one earned run in 14 innings of work overall in the tournament. For the season, Austin went 6-0 with a 1.34 ERA in 11 appearances. Opponents hit just .188 against him.
Dillon Overton (Weatherford) - The OU signee was a 26th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox. Between pro workouts and college visits, Overton missed much of his final season with the squad, but did contribute a 4-0 record with a 0.66 ERA. Opponents hit a paltry .114 against him, as he struck out 39 and allowed just eight hits in 21 innings of work.
Braden Cook (Chickasha) - The Connors State signee was a regular at third base and second base in 2010 after coming up to help the squad down the stretch in 2009 from the younger team. Cook hit .316 on the season in 46 games, contributing nine doubles, two triples, two homeruns and 19 RBI.
Chase Hensley (Leedey) - Despite missing the last tournament of the season, Hensley pitched some big innings for the squad in the other tournaments it played in. He went 5-0 on the season with a 3.88 ERA in 30 innings of work.
Marc White (Arnett) - In his only year with the squad, White quickly became one of the team favorites in the dugout with his magnetic personality and extensive DVD library. He worked his way into an integral part of the squad too, contributing some big innings on the mound late in the season. He went 2-0 on the mound with a 3.95 ERA in three appearances. At the plate he hit .255 in 28 games, driving in seven runs.
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