PBR OK OSSAA Team Previews: Union Redhawks

Scott Hood
OK/MO/KS/ARK Assistant Scouting Director

The Oklahoma high school baseball season kicks off on Feb. 20th for A-B, and March 1st for 2A-6A. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 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 as well as our own coverage on players in our team-by-team preseason analysis.


Team: Union Redhawks
2022 Record: 27-14
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Shawn Newkirk
Years at the Helm: 17


 Coach Newkirk's Redhawks squad in 2022 had a strong showing especially in their District Games allowing them to host a Regional in their home yard.  The Redhawks would eventually fall in that Regional in a tough fought game against Jenks 2-0 ending their season.  As we head into the 2023 campaign the Redhawks return with multiple impact players on both sides of the ball as they try to return back to the 6A State Tournament.  Replacing their everyday short stop Jadyn McNealy will be a big question mark heading into 2023 as he was the catalyst for their offense for 4 years in the leadoff spot and anchored the defense.  The Redhawks have one of the more dynamic offenses in 6A this year as one of the more athletic rosters and the intense pressure style offense they put on opposing defenses.  They have the ability to score runs in multiple ways with a couple of guys capable of leaving the yard at anytime, multiple guys capable of swiping bags, and an advanced short game that can really put the pressure on opponents PFP's.  On the mound they have a couple of arms that have pitched big innings and in crucial moments in the past couple of years giving them some options in District games.  The Redhawks will need to break in a couple of new arms into expanded roles to help them with their depth throughout the entire week as well as in tournament play.  If they can get some of those younger arms to contribute especially early, with their aggressive offensive approach and strong defense especially in the middle of the diamond look for Union to be a true contender to make a run at a State Title in 2023.



 Avery Ortiz, MIF, 2023, Oklahoma State commit

The number one ranked player in Oklahoma for the 2023 class will see his role expand even further in 2023 as he shifts over to the shortstop position from third base and will also be counted on as the closer for the Redhawks.  Ortiz is one of the top athletes when it comes to speed in power in the country and he's shown the ability to produce in games with hitting 17 homers and showing legitimate power to all fields.  The ball explodes off of his bath and he's shown a better understanding of himself as a hitter and ability to control the strike zone.  The athleticism shows up in his defense as he's able to cover a lot of ground and has one of the stronger arms across the diamond in the state.  He will also jump back on the mound this spring where he's shown the ability in the past to work the fastball in the low 90's that will offer the Redhawks a little more depth in the bullpen.  The OSU commit has to carry a large responsibility in the run-production for the Redhawks and he has the type of skills to help lead them to a deep run in 2023.




Brody Briggs, C, 2023, Arizona State commit

Briggs returns as the backstop for the Redhawks as a three-year starter and team leader in 2023.  Briggs is one of the top defensive catchers in the country with some of the top receiving and blocking skills in the state and electric arm from behind the plate that erases would-be base stealers on a regular basis.  The left-handed hitter has started to make big strides with the bat in the past couple of months and looks at him in the preseason show he might be primed for a breakout performance in 2023 with the bat.  The Arizona State commit will need to be counted on more on the offensive side of the ball and if he does make that jump, could see himself rise as one of the top prep catchers in the country.



Tatum Hayworth, 2023, RHP/INF, Eastern Oklahoma State commit

Hayworth had a breakout campaign in 2022 taking over the umber one role on the staff and wracking up a ton of swing and misses on the way.  Hayworth has one of the more projectable builds with a long and athletic frame and a unique delivery that makes him hard for opponents to time up.  He's shown the ability to work the fastball in the upper 80's in the past and pairs it with a heavy up and down curveball that when right can be in the mid 70's and a devastating action.  He has the type of hand speed and strength to where it wouldn't be crazy to see him as a low-to-mid 90's guy in the near future.  If he continues to pound the zone and pick up the swing and misses, Hayworth has a chance to be a one of the top Aces in the state and be a tough matchup against some of the state's top offenses.



TJ King, 2023, RHP/INF, Carl Albert State commit

King returns to the starting rotation for the Redhawks in 2023 as an experienced arm that has pitched in big games in the past.  The Carl Albert commit has worked the fastball in the mid 80's in the past and feel for a low 70's curveball that when he is landing in the zone can be a tough matchup for hitters.  Last year King started to show signs of more pitchability and will look for his stuff to play up at a higher level as he continues to learn the art of pitching and working ahead in counts.  King can be a real wildcard for the Redhawks in 2023 and if he has the type of success his arm is capable of, it can give Union one of the better one-two punches in the state.



Grayson Tempest, 2023, OF/RHP, Tulsa Football commit

Tempest shined on the football diamond this past fall earning him a spot on the Tulsa roster for next year.  He's game on the diamond is not to be overlooked however as he is able to take his elite athleticism to cover an immense amount of ground and center and on the base paths. Tempest has a short and compact stroke that he uses to shoot line drives from gap to gap and is a threat to steal a base at anytime.  His short game might be the best in the state making infield defenses having to always be on alert when he's in the box.  He also is a trusted member of the bullpen staff where he competes in the zone with a low to mid 80's fastball and feel for a breaking ball coming right after hitters. In order for the Redhawks to take another step in 2023, they will need Tempest to be a true catalyst at the top of the order setting the table and be a big part of the run-generation of the offense.



Bryce Ashlock, 2023, OF, Oklahoma Baptist Football commit

Ashlock took some time off of baseball in 2022 to concentrate on football before a late return to the baseball diamond.  He was a counted on member on Varsity in 2021 and will look to help provide some much-needed thump to the lineup as he returns for 2023.  Ashlock is one of the better overall athletes in the state running a 6.92 60, 93 mph arm from the outfield, and exit velos up to 99.4 mph this past summer.  If Ashlock can turn the high-end tools into in-game production, he can provide a physical element to help stretch the lineup even deeper.



Gage Arthur, 2023, OF

Arthur returns to the Union lineup and his spot over in left field after being an everyday guy in 2022.  Arthur has sneaky power and has shown the ability to get extremely hot at the plate at times and take over multiple games in a row.  He's a strong athlete that can cover a ton of ground in the outfield and has also shown an above average arm in games.  Arthur needs to use his explosive athleticism and added strength that he has put on over the past year to continue to provide some offensive production at a more consistent level in 2023.  If he finds that level of consistency at the plate, Arthur can make the Union offense one of the more dynamic collection of hitters and stretch the lineup deeper 1-9.





Rhett Rogers, 2023, INF

Camden Knutson, 2024, INF/RHP

Gamaliel Jones, 2024, OF

Ben Flusche, 2024, OF/RHP


Make sure to follow @PBR_Oklahoma on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2023 season.