Sand Springs, Oklahoma blanks CSHS, 6-0, to take home "Spring Classic" title

Falcons at J.L. Combs this afternoon, home Friday vs. Flagstaff, 4 p.m.

GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY – March 16. When a high school baseball squad travels 2,000 miles round trip by team bus to play in a spring tournament that means nothing to their regular season, they deserve to win. And by golly, that's exactly what the "Sandites" from Sand Springs, Oklahoma did – to the delight of their approximately 100 fans who loyally followed them to The Valley for the March 11-16 "Spring Classic." In Sand Springs, just outside Tulsa, they love their "Sandites," who responded by shutting out the not-so-sharp Falcons, 6-0, behind a five-hit route job by righthander Justin Burgess and a "small ball" bunt offense that had the Falcon defense on its heels.

For the 'Birds, designated hitter Sean O'Grady laced two doubles, and leftfielder Brent Nurre had two solid singles. Centerfielder Joey Ford led off the 4th with a single, but was doubled up on shortstop Charlie Dominick's line shot to his "Sandite" counterpart.

The Falcons' only threat came in the 5th. Baserunners on 3rd and 2nd, no outs, on O'Grady's first double and Nurre's second single. John Leonard's ground smash was alertly snagged by Burgess who started a rally-killing double play.

Walking toward Grand Canyon's Brazell Stadium, this writer noticed the Sandites' insigniaed team bus. Once inside, I rhetorically asked one of their assistant coaches, "Did you fellas really ride that bus all the way out here from Oklahoma?!" "Yep," he proudly answered. "We've got two coaches who are qualified bus drivers. Saved us $8,000 in travel expense."

Sitting with baseball parents John & Kristine Leonard, the three of us speculated upon the distance from Cactus Shadows to GCU. Kristine's GPS produced the answer: 26 miles. If the "Falcon Faithful" numbered 50, that would be a generous count.

"So how 'bout them 'Sandites'?!" Indeed. You gotta love 'em!