NORMAN — When the skies opened, everything changed for the Norman North regional.
The Timberwolves rolled through the first two games of their Class 6A regional at their home field, and were ready to play on Thursday with an opportunity to advance to their second straight state tournament.
Instead, a rain delay Wednesday night forced a delay between the U.S. Grant and Choctaw game, meaning that another delay was in order after Choctaw won two straight on Thursday to advance to the regional final. Because it would have been the third game of the day for Choctaw had they played Thursday night as originally scheduled, it was decided instead to push the regional final back to 4 p.m. today.
The major implication of the delay means that Choctaw will have its entire pitching staff available, since OSSAA rules require that any pitcher who goes at least six innings in a regional must sit out 24 hours. The game being moved to today means that Choctaw will have everyone available.
North’s ace Brad Kinsey threw just five innings in Wednesday’s victory over Edmond Memorial, so the senior would already be available if coach Brian Aylor chooses to use him at some point.
But it will be Thomas Hughes, who has excelled in the role of the second starter on the staff, who will face off against Choctaw. Hughes has been the Timberwolves’ go-to pitcher on the second day of district contests, and Aylor is confident he’ll be able to pace the T-Wolves against Choctaw. Aylor plans to rest Kinsey if possible in anticipation for the state tournament next week, but he will certainly turn to his ace if the situation calls for it.
One thing he isn’t worrying about is how his team will handle the day off before the biggest game of the season.