NORMAN, Okla. -- As part of continuing coverage of Oklahoma baseball throughout the summer, SoonerSports.com will bring fans weekly updates of current Sooners competing in the numerous summer baseball leagues around the country, including former Sooners playing in Major League Baseball and its minor league affiliates.
Update No. 5
Joe Dunigan’s late game heroics propelled the Orleans Cardinals to an 8-5 victory over the Eastern Division leading Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox on July 21. With the game tied 5-5 in the top of the ninth, the Red Sox intentionally walked Matt Wieters to get to Dunigan, who responded with a three-run blast, giving Orleans a lead it would not relinquish.
Orleans has won its last three games, the longest current streak in the Cape Cod League, and face a critical game today against the second-place Brewster Whitecaps, who sit one game in front of the Cards. With 11 games remaining, the Cards must overtake the Whitecaps to earn one of two playoff spots.
Also playing for the Cardinals is outfielder Kody Kaiser. The Edmond Santa Fe product is tied for the Cape Cod League in stolen bases, and is second on the team in total bases (39) and doubles (6).
Other Sooners playing in the Cape Cod League are juniors Aaron Reza (Chatam A’s) and Jackson Williams (Hyannis Mets).
In the Texas Collegiate League, Brandon Moss and the Euless LoneStars kept their postseason hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over the McKinney Marshalls on Monday night. Leading 2-1 in the fifth, Moss added an insurance run for the LoneStars with a double to left center, providing all the offense they would need for the victory. Euless now trails the Marshalls by three games for the second spot in the Speaker Division. The top two finishers in the division advance to the TCL playoffs.
A trio of Sooner pitchers are playing well for the Weatherford Wranglers this summer. Matt Lovelady is 1-1 in nine appearances on the year. The Modesto, Calif., native has an ERA of 2.08. Brad Burns is 2-2, with a 2.45 ERA in six starts. Nich Conaway is 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA in nine games. The Wranglers sit one game back of the second-place Mineral Wells Steam in the Rogers Hornsby Division after losing their last two games.
Other Sooners playing in the Texas Collegiate League are seniors Joseph Hughes (Coppell Copperheads) and Jimmy Rollins (Coppell Copperheads) and junior Jarod Freeman (Graham Roughnecks).
Senior outfielder Aaron Ivey is hitting .295 for the Kauai Menehunes of the Hawaii Collegiate League. The Menehunes currently sit in third place in the league standings with the season wrapping up Tuesday. Ivey and his Kauai teammates will begin a postseason double-elimination tournament for the league crown on Wednesday.
Chris Henry continued his successful summer in the California League this week, earning the victory in a 4-2 win over the Santa Barbara Forresters on July 20. The Oakdale, Calif., native struck out three while scattering seven hits and two earned runs over seven innings in his fourth victory of the season.
Also pitching in the California League is junior Kevin Duke. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., product is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.33, and is tied for the team lead in wins. Duke and the Fire clinched the League Division title last week and are preparing for the National Baseball Congress World Series, which runs from July 28 - Aug. 12 in Wichita, Kan.
Junior utility man Ryan Mottern (Kenai Peninsula Oilers - Alaska League) is the remaining Sooner playing in a summer league. In eight appearances, the Palestine, Texas, native has a team-leading 0.60 ERA. The Oilers, who remain a game and a half in front of the Anchorage Bucs for the ABL top spot, will host the Bucs in a crucial three-game series that will determine who goes to Wichita to represent the Alaska Baseball League in the 2006 National Baseball Congress World Series.
Former Sooner Russell Raley provided two crucial RBIs for the Staten Island Yankees in a 5-4 extra innings affair over the Auburn Doubledays on Sunday. The Uvalde, Texas, native hit a seventh-inning double to left field which tied the game at 4-4, where it would stay until the Yanks added one more in the top of the 12th. Raley leads the team with a .338 batting average.
Below is a complete look at all the Sooners, current and former, playing in various leagues this summer.