Frozen Ropes claim Connie Mack regional title

David Allen Memorial Ballpark (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

An Oklahoma team has never made the Connie Mack World Series.

The Frozen Ropes of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metorplex made sure that would continue Sunday in the final day of the South Plains Regional Tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

The Frozen Ropes, comprised entirely of 2020 high school graduates, run-ruled the Oklahoma Drillers, 9-0 in five innings and the Southwest Shockers, 8-0 in six innings to punch their ticket to the Connie Mack World Series, which begins next month in Farmington, N.M.

"This is great,'' said Frozen Ropes coach Corey Thornton. "I've been coaching these kids since they were 11 years old. When we started our goal was to get to the Connie Mack World Series and we achieve that even though we had a lot of adversity.''

Injuries forced pitcher Cameron Loy to have to catch and for outfielder Campbell Sullivan to move to third.

"We had some players get hurt and we had some players drop out,'' Thornton said. "We weren't expecting this (two run-rules). We hadn't hit the ball well all season, but the kids showed a lot of determination this week.''

Sullivan, who has committed to Dallas Baptist, homered in both games — a three-run shot against the Shockers that highlighted a four-run first inning and a two-run shot against the Drillers. He also doubled against the Drillers and scored two runs.

"It was good,'' Sullivan said. "I was able to put the ball on the bat. I knew they were out right off the bat.''

Loy was 3-for-3 against the Drillers and scored three times. Parker Zarbaugh had a two-RBI single. Loy had two RBI against the Shockers.

Jack Hagan threw a two-hitter against the Drillers, striking out three and walking two. A shoestring catch by center fielder Zach Henry with two-out in the third robbed Seth Gray of an RBI single.

Hunter Henderson allowed four hits against the Shockers. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. The Shockers did not get a runner to third.

"We had good pitching,'' Thornton said. "The kids battled hard all week.''

Shortstop Tyler McShane was named the tournament MVP. He scored twice against the Shockers and once against the Drillers.

The Drillers had reached the finals with a 5-4 win over the DFW Twins, scoring twice in the seventh after a double by Carson Kinnaird, a single by Peyton Ladon, two errors and a sac fly by winning pitcher Michelle Artsberger.

Artsberger went the distance, striking out six and walking one. He lost a 3-1 lead in the sixth when the Twins scored three runs, aided by two errors.

Second game starter Cole Fletcher became ill and left the game in the second inning.

"I'm proud of my guys,'' said Shockers coach Kyle Fultz. "They weren't supposed to be in the finals. We ran into a team that was really hot. Our starting pitcher got got sick, I don't know if it was the heat or not. We just couldn't get back from that (4-0 deficit).''

Fultz praised his team's comeback against the Twins and Artsberger, an All-Stater from Lawton MacArthur who is going to Cowley County (Kan.) Community College.

"We played as a team,'' he said. "We knew we could come back. Michelle did awesome for us. He's been the guy for us at the plate and on the mound.''

Drummond's Seth Gray took the loss for the Drillers against the Frozen Ropes. He allowed four hits and two runs in two innings while striking out two and walking two. He was 0-for-2 at the plate. Brother Wyatt was 0-for-1 with two walks. Drummond teammate Brandon Coontz was 0-for-2.

The Grays are headed to Eastern Oklahoma College while Coontz is headed for Labette.

"It's a big accomplishment to make the (bracket) finals,'' Coontz said. "That's (Frozen Ropes) a tough team to beat. We had a very good season. When you get to the last two days of this tournament, every team is the real deal.''

Hunter Davis had two RBI against the Twins.

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Campbell is a sports writer for the News & Eagle.

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