OK Preseason Preview: Deer Creek


Oklahoma Staff

The Oklahoma high school baseball season kicks off on Feb. 21 for A-B, and March 1 for 2A-6A. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2022 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown through the official PBR Oklahoma Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

We’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2022 preseason coverage continues today. 

Team: Deer Creek
2021 Record: 35-4 (State Semi-Finals)
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Roland Baza
Years at the Helm: 2

OUTLOOK

Coach Baza and the Antlers of Deer Creek made a big splash in 2021 with their eye-popping 35-4 record and State Semi-Finals finish.  The Antlers had one of the toughest lineups to navigate to go along with a very well-equipped pitching staff that stifled opposing offenses all season long.  They look to rebuild with the losses of Keaton Ruthardt on the mound and Jackson Hill, Ty Hammack, and Bryce Logan in the lineup, but as with all top-tier programs in the State, the Antlers have the players and talent to make another special run in 2022.  It starts with the amount of pitching depth where they have multiple qualified candidates to take the ball on those important Monday and Tuesday nights with upper classmen with good experience and younger arms with bright futures.  Offensively they have multiple weapons with good athletes all over the diamond that make up for a scrappy lineup and possess strong defensive skills in the higher leverage position.   Look for the Antlers to be considered as one of the preseason favorites for making another deep run in May and will look to get over the tough hump in 6A to capture a State Title.

 

Impact PLAYERS

Brett Pense, 2022, RHP/1B, University of Central Oklahoma commit

Pense has continually improved each time we have had eyes on him and will look to be a key cog in the rotation this year for Deer Creek.  The UCO commit has a physical starter's build and works the fastball in the mid to upper 80's and would not be surprised to see him continue to see that number climb higher with some added strength as he progresses.  He also shows a feel for a tight spinning slider with short cutting action that makes the fastball play up even higher.  Last year Pense went 5-0 on the mound with an impressive 1.2 ERA.

Brett Pense (7/13/21)

Nathan Rogalski, LHP/1B, 2023, Oklahoma State commit

Rogalski is known as one of the least fun matchups for hitters in the State with his explosive fastball from the left side that has previously reached into the low 90's.  The OSU commit comes right after hitters with a three-pitch mix with a very good feel for the changeup which can keep hitters off of trying to take away his fastball.  He has shown in the past to be a tough competitor and look for him to create match up nightmares for the Antlers this Spring and stretch their already talented pitching staff.  Rogalski will look to improve on his already impressive numbers from last Spring where he went 5-1 on the year with a 1.3 ERA.

 

Nathan Rogalski (2/10/21)

 

Duncan Key, C/OF/ 2022, NEO JC commit

Key played a big role last season as a Junior handling the catching duties and collecting big hits throughout the year and especially in the post season.  Last year the NEO commit hit .354 and slugged his way to a .500 slugging percentage using his short and quick stroke that sprays line drives to both gaps often.  Key also shows strong defensive abilities from behind the plate where he has some of the best catch and throw actions to go along with strong receiving and blocking skills.  Just because he wears the gear doesn't mean you can sleep on his athleticism.  Key is a an all-around good looking athlete with quick feet and a solid run tool.

 

Duncan Key (6/1/21)

 

Luke Schimmels, OF/RHP, 2023

Schimmels played a big role for one of the top teams in the State in 2021 where he showed his two-way talents going 4-0 on the mound with a 1.70 ERA and hitting .320 on the year.  Look for Schimmels to play an even bigger role offensively this year after the graduation of some key players off of last year's squad and carry more weight in the lineup.  Schimmels has a physical build with good tools and will look to gain even more valuable experience in the beginning of the season to help make another deep push into the postseason.

 

Luke Schimmels (5/21/21)

 

Taylor Tomlin, OF/LHP, 2023, Houston commit

Tomlin has top of the order type skills and elite speed that makes him a tough out in an already deep lineup.  The Houston commit also displays some of the best defensive actions in the outfield in the State with his ability to cover a ton of ground using his sub 6.7 speed.  He picks up hits using his short line drive stroke that led the way to a .338 average in 2021 and look for him to make a bigger impact for the Antlers this upcoming Spring.

 

Taylor Tomlin (6/8/21)

 

Brett McComas, RHP/OF, 2022, Cowley County CC commit

One of the top power arms in the State, McComas provides the type of fire power in his right arm that teams are always looking for in the back end of games.  The Cowley County commit has seen his fastball climb in the low to mid 90's in the past that he pairs with both a hard biting slider and firmer curveball.  Last season McComas put up very solid numbers working a 2-0 record with 1.70 ERA and we are looking for him to make a bigger impact this upcoming Spring as he continues to polish his delivery and command.

 

Brett McComas (5/22/21)

 

William Brady Hamilton, RHP/SS, 2023

William Brady Hamilton came on late last year for the Antlers working out of the bullpen where he did not give up a single run in 2021.  At an athletic and lean build of 6-foot-1 and 165-pounds, Brady Hamilton has shown the ability to work the fastball up to 88 with solid spin and shows a feel for a solid looking changeup.  Look for him to play an even bigger role in one of the deepest staffs in the State logging more important innings for the Antlers as they look to build on the successes they had in 2021.

 

William Brady Hamilton (6/8/21)

players to keep an eye on

Keaton Story, RHP/OF, 2022

Ashton Hartwig, LHP/OF, 2024

Ethan Hedrick, LHP, 2024

Miles Lock, MIF, 2022, NOC Enid

Cameron Ebert, RHP, 2022 NOC Enid

 

 

Make sure to follow @PBR_Oklahoma on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2022 season.

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