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Tulsa wins in return after Coolbaugh's death

Drillers crank five homers, fulfill Cole's request to 'play with passion'
July 25, 2007
In Tulsa's first game since the death of hitting coach Mike Coolbaugh, the Drillers posted a season-high five homers to top Wichita, 12-6, on Tuesday.

The Drillers played following a joint decision by the organization and the Coolbaugh family.

"They decided the best thing was to go ahead and move forward. It's what Mike would have wanted," Tulsa manager Stu Cole said.

"The team is doing a lot better," Cole added, saying he told his players before the game to "go out and play with passion and play with their heart."

Duke Sardinha and Corey Wimberly cranked three-run homers in the second and sixth innings respectively for Tulsa (13-17). Matt Miller hit a solo shot in the third, Christian Colonel sent his 12th roundtripper over the left-field wall in the fifth, and Jordan Czarniecki capped the ninth with a two-run homer, his eighth.

Reliever Matt Daley (2-4) gave up a run on two hits over 2 1/3 innings in earning the win. Starter Franklin Morales yielded five runs on six hits and six walks with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames.

"I think the guys just really wanted to come out ... the field is our safe haven," Cole said.

Adam Donachie sparked a five-run fifth with his fifth homer for the Wranglers (11-20). Michael Gaffney drove in two runs and Jorge Padilla, Jeff Nettles and Geraldo Valentin plated a run apiece.

Wichita starter Daniel Christensen (2-11) allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts over five innings.

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium had a moment of silence before the game, and fans were given the opportunity to contribute to the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund after the top of the sixth.

The 35-year-old died Sunday after being hit by a line-drive foul ball to his left temple while coaching first base in the top of the ninth inning against Arkansas.

The Travelers led, 7-3, and the game was initially suspended, but later declared final. Tulsa's contest against Wichita on Monday was postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Aug. 26.

Cole said the Drillers will dedicate the rest of the season to Coolbaugh and his family.

Donations can be made in person to any Spirit Bank in the Tulsa area or mailed to: Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund, c/o Spirit Bank, 1800 S. Baltimore Ave., Tulsa, OK 74119.

Marissa Rega is a contributor to