The majority of the University of Oklahoma baseball roster left Norman shortly after returning from the Louisville Regional and went off in several different directions across the country seeking innings and at-bats alongside and against some of the nation's best amatuer players. Last summer, a total of 20 Sooners played in wood-bat, collegiate summer leagues stretching from California to Massachusetts. Three were named summer league all-stars, including Thomas Hughes and Kyle Mendenhall; a pair of infielders slated to return in 2018. Steele Walker, who is one of five OU players headed to the Cape Cod Baseball League, won the Northwoods League batting title as a member of the Wisconsin Woodchucks a season ago.
Walker will play for the Brewster Whitecaps on the Cape; considered the country's most prestigious summer league. Domenic DeRenzo, who missed action last summer due to Tommy John surgery, will suit up for the three-time defending champion Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. A trifecta of Sooners are set to join the Harwich Mariners, which has hosted at least one Sooner in each of the last four seasons and had Craig Aikin, Jacob Evans and Anthony Hermelyn in 2014. Pitchers Dylan Grove and Austin Hansen, both of whom pitched in the Futures League in New England last summer, and two-sport athlete Kyler Murray will be on the roster in Harwich this summer.
Walker Recalls Team USA Experience
Steele Walker | OF | USA Baseball | Collegiate National Team
In an amateur career that has progressed from the Dallas suburbs to Norman to Team USA, Steele Walker has continued to hit at each level as the lights have shown brighter at each stop. Named the Dallas Morning News Player of the Year as a senior at Prosper High School, Walker soon made an impact at the collegiate level as a Freshman All-American before being honored as an All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore.
Walker hit a steady .333 with a .541 slugging percentage and team-leading 51 RBI for the University of Oklahoma baseball team this season. A left-handed hitter, Walker’s ability to hit righties and lefties as well as a knack for driving in runners with two outs and his permanent move to center field, attracted USA Baseball to the rising Sooner junior. He was formally announced as having accepted an invitation to training camp for the Collegiate National Team on June 16.
“I got the call from USA Baseball and I was told I could come to the trials,” recalled Walker. “It sounded like there were going to be over 30 players trying out and I had heard they only keep 24. Going in, I trusted my ability and knew all I could do was play as hard as I can.”
Link: Complete Walker Feature
Ware Hits Wherever He Goes
Brylie Ware | 3B | Wisconsin Woodchucks | Northwoods League
Big 12 Baseball Newcomer of the Year Brylie Ware has hit at every level of his collegiate career. As a freshman as Neosho County Community College, he was the first NJCAA Triple Crown winner since 1985 with a .589 batting average. Ware followed with a .298 average in his first season at the University of Oklahoma this past spring and is currently hitting .367 through 16 games with the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer wood-bat league.
Following a 2-for-5 performance in a 6-3 win to earn a series split against the Battle Creek Bombers on July 4 in Battle Creek, Mich., Ware took some time for a Q&A with SoonerSports.com while on the nearly seven-hour bus ride north back to Wausau, Wisc.
Link: Complete Ware Q&A
Grove Prepared for the Cape
Dylan Grove | RHP | Harwich Mariners | Cape Cod Baseball League
Dylan Grove struck out 11 and defeated No. 2 Texas Tech on March 31 before he struck out 10 at Texas just one week later. He was pitching in the Sooners' Friday night role to begin Big 12 play as Oklahoma was ranked as high as No. 16 in the polls and owned an overall record of 26-7. Oklahoma's 2017 season would stretch on for another 58 days after Grove started in Austin, a 3-5 loss to the Longhorns, but he would account for just 2.1 innings of work, including two starts.
A right-hander out of Moore, Okla., Grove's struggles began in a series-opening start at Michigan. The series began on a Thursday due to the Easter holiday that weekend and he pitched on one less day of rest. Grove walked the first batter he faced, but quickly responded by getting the next two batters out. From there he allowed five in a row to reach; walking four and hitting one. He left the game before the end of the first inning and a week later, having been moved to the Sunday role on extra rest, failed to get a single out in a start against Kansas.
Grove, who is spending his summer playing for the Harwich Mariners of the historic Cape Cod Baseball League, called this moment his “rock bottom”.
Link: Complete Grove Feature
Jeremiah Adams | OF | Plymouth Pilgrims | NECBL
Adams, a Mattapoissett native, returns to his home state of Massachusetts for the summer. In limited action as a freshman, he showcased a lot of power from the right side with a .294 (5-for-17) batting average and .706 slugging percentage on two home runs and a double with seven RBI. Adams posted a three-hit game on June 11; just his second appearance of the summer with the Plymouth Pilgrims.
Lane Ramsey | P | Eau Claire Express | Northwoods
Ramsey, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, appeared in five games out of the bullpen as a redshirt-sophomore for Oklahoma in 2017. He made his debut in the Northwoods League with the Eau Claire Express on June 6 with a six-inning start. Ramsey did not factor into the decision as he allowed just two hits and struck out two in an eventual one-run loss. He made a second start on June 13, a 2-1 loss on the road. Ramsey scattered five hits and did not walk a batter as he yielded two runs in another six-inning start.
Brylie Ware | IF | Wisconsin Woodchucks | Northwoods
The 2017 Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year, Ware played primarily as the designated hitter for the Sooners and hit .298 with a .429 on-base percentage. He made his debut in the Northwoods with the Wisconsin Woodchucks on June 11, while batting second as the starting right fielder. Ware went 2-for-5 in the game, including a double his first time to the plate and a two-RBI single in the eighth. Through three games, he has recorded at least one hit and one RBI in each contest.