By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Now that spring break has concluded, it’s time for the area slow pitch softball teams to get back to work.
After a couple of warm-up games, Moore, Westmoore and Southmoore will host the annual Big Cat Classic beginning today. With 10 teams ranked in the top 16, it could be the strongest tournament field outside of regional and state playoffs.
“It’s a really great field this season,” Southmoore coach Jason Lingo said. “We pride ourselves on getting some quality softball teams to join us in the tournament and this year is no exception.
“Union has a tournament that is probably the only other one that is in the same zip code as far as top-to-bottom quality of teams. So if the BCC isn’t the toughest tournament in the state, it’s tied.”
The tournament field includes Class 6A powerhouses such as No. 1 Moore, No. 2 Westmoore, No. 4 Union, No. 5 Jenks, No. 6 Muskogee, No. 7 Tahlequah, No. 8 Southmoore, No. 15 Norman and No. 16 Anadarko. But it also has the top teams from other classes like Class 4A No. 1 Dale and No. 2 Washington.
“It is ridiculously strong,” Moore coach Michael Wakefield said. “But that is what we want. We want it to test us.
“In the state tournament you have to win three games in a day against the top teams. In this tournament, if you want to win it, you probably have to do the same.”
The BCC kicks off at 10 a.m. today with games being played at Moore, Westmoore and Southmoore. The tournament is a round robin format with 12 teams split into two pools.
Moore and Westmoore, both in the Red Pool, played each other Tuesday with the Jags winning 19-15. The two top teams in Class 6A will face off again at 9 a.m. Saturday at Moore.
“It gives us a chance to see how we match up against these teams in the state tournament,” Jags coach Steve Schwarz said. “It also gives me a great chance to scout them and try to change things when we play them at state.”
The winners of the Red Pool and Navy Pool meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Southmoore in the tourney championship game.
“This tournament is even tougher than a state tourney, because you add the top teams from 4A and 5A into the mix of all of the top teams in 6A,” Lingo said. “So you can’t go anyplace else and find this much talent in one tournament. With the quality of teams here at the tournament, you’re going to have to be on your ‘A’ game the entire weekend.”
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