EDMOND — The problem, as it turned out, was pretty basic. Carl Albert was just too good. And because the Titans were so good, Noble’s storybook baseball season delivered everything but a storybook ending.
The Bears’ season concluded with an 8-2 defeat Friday afternoon at Edmond Santa Fe in the semifinal round of the Class 5A state baseball tournament.
But for a few entrants in the state track and field meet, the loss concluded a banner year for Noble athletics, one that also included a trip to the boys state basketball tournament and an unbeaten girls soccer season until bowing out in the postseason’s quarterfinal round.
The Bears aside, the story Friday was Carl Albert pitcher Gavin LeValley, who set the Titans’ tone at the plate in the top of the first inning by slugging an opposite field two-run home run, his 20th big fly of the season, before settling in on he mound, where he struck out five, walked one and hit a batter while allowing five hits and two earned runs.
Noble starter Corey Jennings didn’t get out of the first inning. In addition to LeValley’s shot, he allowed three other hits, two of them doubles and a pair of walks. Brady Bradshaw came on in relief and helped to settle the game down, but it wasn’t like Carl Albert was ever fully silenced.
“They played outstanding baseball,” Noble coach Brad Anglin said of the players in the other dugout. “When you give up 11 hits and they get a great outing from their pitcher, it’s hard to compete.”
Not once were the Titans (34-2) retired in order and, beyond the first inning, they collected seven more hits, two more doubles and pushed across two runs in the fourth inning, another in the fifth and another in the sixth.