There were tears flowing all around after Choudrant High School’s Class B baseball playoff win over Glenmora Friday night.
Tears of joy. Tears of gratitude. Tears of humility and humbleness.
The second-seeded Aggies defeated Glenmora 8-2 in Class B playoff action, meaning Choudrant will head to Sulphur next week and try to defend their 2021 state championship.
But in the midst of the celebration, there was also the realization the Aggies head coach Tony Antley, who doubles as the school’s principal, is retiring and coached his last game on the field that is named in his honor.
During a post-game ceremony honoring Antley and his wife Alyssa, Antley explained his emotions at the moment.
“This isn’t about me,” Antley said. “It’s about all of the players who have played here over the years. It’s about the little ones sitting up in the bleachers right now who one day will join this program. That’s what I look forward to.”
Glenmora gave the Aggies to think, or worry early on, after pushing across a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off a pair of hits.
Choudrant responded in strong fashion in the bottom half of the opening inning, scoring five runs off of four hits while taking advantage of a pair of errors committed by the Wolves.
The Aggies added another run in the top of the second inning two more turns in the bottom of the fifth to seal the win over Glemora.
Choudrant had been using senior Bryce McGuire and junior Landon Hennen as a dual-weapon on the mound, trading starts before making midnight switches.
But after Hennen shook off a shaky start, Antley let him go the distance against Glenmora with the junior recording seven strikeouts in the process.
“There wasn’t a plan going in,” Antley said about his decision on pitching. “We could have brought Bryce in at the end. But I didn’t want to mess with things. When it’s working, it’s working.
“Landon is a gamer and is going to give you everything he’s got every time he’s on the field and he did that tonight for us.”
Hennen admitted he wanted the complete game in this one.
“It would have been easy for us to fold after Glenmora jumped on us early, but this team knows how to fight back,” Hennen said. “I wanted the complete game after going that far. I just wanted to finish that one myself.”
Now the Aggies turn their attention to something Antley hasn’t done over his 32-year run as head coach – win back-to-back state titles.
“This was my last hoorah here at home,” Antley said, “Now it’s time for my last hoorah overall. It’s big to leave here on my own terms and win and get back to the state tournament.
“But it’s really about the program – these young men. I think this team has as good a shot as any team in the final four right now. We play a tough schedule every year to be able to hopefully make this kind of thing happen. We’ll approach the next game just like this one. Now we just have two more to play.”
The second-seeded Aggies will next play 11th-seeded Anacoco in Class B semifinals action at 10 a.m. Wednesday at McMurray Park in Sulphur.
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