NORMAN — While the Heartland Classic will finish Saturday night as scheduled, there’s no question the rain may have changed the course of the tournament.
Weather delays forced the cancellation of all of Thursday’s games, and Friday’s games were forced to be played on only two fields after Southmoore and Norman High were unable to host games on Friday. Still, the seven teams competing were able to play all the round-robin games that determine the seeding used in the bracket portion of the tournament.
But that bracket was abbreviated after losing a day to rain. Rather than a true tournament-style bracket that gave every team a chance to claim the tournament title, each team is guaranteed just one game today. For Oklahoma, that means a 3 p.m. contest against Georgia for third place instead of a shot at Texas or Maryland in the title game, the two teams that defeated Oklahoma in round-robin play.
It was especially disappointing for Oklahoma given that it finished in a three-way tie with Maryland and Georgia for second place. While Texas earned the No. 1 seed with a 5-1 record in group play, the other three teams stood at 4-2. But Maryland emerged from the group as the candidate to upset Texas for the title by virtue of owning wins over both Oklahoma and Georgia.
Errors haunt Oklahoma: While Oklahoma’s pitching has been consistent and its offense at times dominant throughout the Heartland Classic, the team’s defense hasn’t been perfect.
A costly error against Maryland in the tournament opener came back to hurt Oklahoma after it dropped the game by one run, and Oklahoma committed another pair of errors in Friday’s 7-1 loss to Texas.
Tyler to start today: Heading into today’s rematch with Georgia, it will be Westmoore’s Kyle Tyler who will be handed the ball.