Ben Johnson and Michael Swisher are back at it again as they've put together their predictions for this weekend's large-school state baseball tournaments, which begin Thursday.
For the record, Swisher picked Leedey to win Class B and Roff to win Class A last week. You can't find it anywhere on the internet machine that he didn't...so just try to disprove that statement.
Here are the picks. Take Swisher's to the bank. Take Ben's for what they're worth:
Latta - The Panthers lost lost to Silo, 4-3, on April 16. Itíll be different come state tournament time.
Silo - I hate to pick the No. 1 team, but I think Iím going to do it for the first couple of classes. Silo hasnít lost to another Class 2A team this year and should repeat as the state champ.
Jones - Longhorns have had few issues of dispatching of every 3A opponent theyíve faced all year, save for a loss to Chandler, who is not around in the state tournament field. Iíll take Jones to claim its first baseball crown.
Oktaha - The Tigers won the Class A fall championship, which I consider one of the toughest brackets regardless of sport year after year. Theyíre also undefeated against ranked foes. That includes an 11-game stretch in April in which they beat Hartshorne (twice), Vian, Adair, Silo, Kiowa, Beggs, Dale and Red Oak.
Blanchard - The Heritage Hall-Verdigris winner in the opening round will likely advance to the state finals, but waiting will be Blanchard for the crown. Along the way, Blanchard will avenge a loss to Tuttle earlier in the season and cap a 35-3 season and its fourth gold in baseball.
Verdigris - Good news here is, Iím not picking the No. 1 team. The obvious retort: There are no 4A rankings. But Iím going with Verdigris, which all but owned 3A before moving up. The Cardinals probably have the best pitching staff in the field, although Heritage Hall is a potential landmine in the opener. The Chargers will test the Cardinalsí bats, but I think Verdigris will have enough to get by and then complete the run to the title.
Collinsville - I should probably go with Carl Albert, but Iíll go against the grain here. The Cardinals were so dominant during regional play that itís hard to pick against that hot steak right now. So ignore Swisher when he says Duncan will finish on top. Heís spreading propaganda.
Duncan - Canít wait to see Bishop Kelley and Dallas Keuchel square off against Carl Albert and J.T. Realmuto in the finals. Since that canít happen, Iím going with darkhorse Duncan. Yes, the Demons have lost to four other teams in this bracket, but they have two of the stateís best all-around players in Derek Bridges and Tyler Polk. If memory serves, they didnít start (on the mound) in any of those losses. This will be Duncanís first baseball title when it happens. And it will happen.
Westmoore - I actually want to go with Owasso with what happened to the Rams in last yearís state tournament. But the Rams labored just to get to the state tournament, so Iíll opt to side with Swisher here. And Iíll probably regret it.
Westmoore - Whoever wins the Owasso-Westmoore semifinal. Iím going with Westmoore. The Jags have been close to their first title a couple of times recently. Time for them to get over the hump. Thatís just a big (potential) semifinal hump. Owasso has won a couple of titles in its day and knows how to get it done. Still, I say the 6A title stays on the West side (insert Tupac emoji here). Sorry, Ben.