Photo: Ben Collman, Todd Gold

Bradley KOs Owasso in OK Champ.

High School : : General
Todd Gold        
Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011

Broken Arrow ace right hander Archie Bradley lived up to the hype and even surpassed the lofty expectations that many had for the 6' 5" flamethrower, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout of perennial powerhouse Owasso. Bradley struck out 14 Owasso hitters using an overpowering fastball that consistently sat 94-96 mph, topping out at 97 that he combined with an absolute hammer of a knuckle curveball with very sharp break and a lot of depth, registering 82-84 and reaching as high as 86 mph. Most impressively, Bradley showed very good feel for his curveball with the ability to throw it for strikes in any count.

Tyler Kruse drew first blood with what proved to be a game winning solo Home Run to left in the second inning. Kruse said "It couldn't have come in a bigger game, I knew it was the only run we'd need." The Tigers would add an insurance run in the inning and Kruse was right, it was more than enough run support for Bradley. a likely first round pick in next month's draft. Bradley said after the game "people were telling me it looked easy out there but it wasn't at all, they're a very good team one through nine and they made me work to get outs."

Kruse would add an insurance run in the sixth, stealing second after working a leadoff walk and Matt Monckton would tally the fourth and final Tigers run on a bloop single by Tyler McKenzie. Owasso pitcher Phillip Wilson battled throughout the start against one of the best offenses in the state, but in the end the Rams were overmatched. Owasso head coach Larry Turner said "Phillip pitched a good game for us and gave us a chance to win but Archie was nails out there, he'll pitch on tv someday."

The championship is Broken Arrow's first since 1991, while Owasso reached the championship game for the fourteenth time in the past fifteen years. Both teams finish the season 35-2. It was their first meeting this season, though they nearly met on two previous occasions this season. Both teams competed on opposite sides of the bracket in the Terry Donley Blue Devil Classic in Winter Haven, FL in March but Broken Arrow suffered their first defeat of the season and missed the championship, which was won by Owasso. The two had a regular season game scheduled at Owasso on April 15 but weather caused a cancellation but finally on the last day of the season the two powers from the Sooner state finally met up.

Owasso wasn't willing to use their own ace, Dylan Bundy on short rest after he threw seven innings on Saturday. Turner explained "we went over all of our options and we thought about gambling and saving Dylan for the championship but you've got to get there to have a chance to win it." Turner said that Bundy may have come in to close if necessary, but the situation didn't present itself.

Bundy and Bradley will likely be forever linked throughout their baseball careers after growing up 30 miles apart and coming out of the same draft class. The two are friends off the field, Bradley said of his draft day plans "Dylan and I will be watching the draft together at his place, it'll be a family thing and he and I are like brothers so I wouldn't feel right watching it without him."

When Bradley was asked how he felt about finishing his career with a complete game shutout in the championship game he talked about the big picture. He said "it's kind of bittersweet, on the one hand I couldn't imagine it ending any better than this, but from now on its a grown up game." Bradley will have a tough choice to make between playing pro baseball and college football this fall, but if he chooses baseball he'll be well equipped to succeed.

Bradley footage:


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