Gross leads Bishop Kelley past Pryor
— Ben Gross has been Tulsa Bishop Kelley’s short-relief man all season.
On Saturday, the junior left-hander learned the meaning of long relief.
Gross spelled starter Jack Griffin in the second inning and pitched into the seventh, allowing only one run and helping the Comets turn back Pryor, 7-2, for the 5A state baseball title before 1,000 spectators at ORU’s J.L. Johnson Stadium.
“I thought I’d be coming in a little later, but this is the state tournament and you do what you have to do,” Gross said.
Gross allowed only one run and four hits over 5 innings, raising his record to 5-1. On Friday, he pitched the final two outs in a 2-1 win over Claremore for his fourth save of the season.
“Ben’s been just a clutch guy all season and he came through again today,” Kelley pitching coach Dennis Keeley said. “He plays big in the big games.”
Ryan Glenn relieved Gross with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and got Pryor’s dangerous Drew Miller on a fly to shallow center. Then, catcher Parker Rowland ended the game by picking off a runner at first base.
“I’m glad Parker had the confidence to make that throw in that situation,” Comets senior shortstop Ryan Gendron said with a chuckle.
Gendron, the Oklahoma State University signee, singled home two runs in the fifth inning and drove in another in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk.
Kelley (30-5) captured its sixth state title but the first as a head coach for 58-year-old Brian Begnel in his 36th coaching season.
"It's a great feeling," Begnel said. "It's unbelievable that all of our hard work since Dec. 1 finally paid off."