NORMAN — Most high school athletes dream of one day going pro and playing professionally in huge venues. For the Norman High baseball team, a piece of that dream will come true tonight.
The Tigers will meet Putnam City at 7 p.m. at Bricktown Ballpark in downtown Oklahoma City. It’s a one-off contest that was worked out a year ago for the two teams to share Oklahoma’s largest ballpark, home to the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros.
“Most high school kids dream of playing at a professional level, but we know that’s not such an easy thing to do,” NHS coach Pete Sangirardi said. “But this gives them an opportunity to get that experience.”
Putnam City coaches approached Sangirardi a year ago with the concept, and, after presenting the idea to his team, agreed to the contest. It’s not the first time Sangirardi has coached a team playing in a large ball park, after doing the same at Tulsa’s ONEOK field several years ago.
“The kids are really excited about it,” he said. “They wanted to do it, and it’s a really neat things for the kids.”
For NHS (1-3), while tonight’s game is mostly about playing in Bricktown, there’s also more going on. The Tigers are coming off a pair of 1-run losses to Norman North in the Crosstown Clash earlier in the week and are looking for a win against a 2-5 Putnam City squad.
The Tigers are also trying to adjust to having their coach back. Sangirardi missed most of the preseason and the first week of the season for medical reasons, and the coach and his players are still trying to re-acclimate themselves with each other.
“We’re just getting back in the groove,” he said. “They’re used to things being done in a certain way and I get back and do them a little differently. It’s just a different situation and things are getting back to normal around here.”
As far as matters on the field, Sangirardi said his team is improving and is a threat despite dropping three of their first few district games that determine playoff seeding. In the game tonight and 1 p.m. home contest Saturday, he wants to see the Tigers close out games better.
“We were on par with Norman North, but we’ve just got to finish games,” he said. “Our defense improved in the second game, but our bats weren’t there. But we did some good things.”
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