BIXBY – When Oral Roberts University begins its 2024 baseball season, it will be with the assistance of a Cherokee Nation citizen on its roster.

Owen Bailor, a senior at Bixby High School, has committed to playing for the Golden Eagles as a left-handed pitcher and first baseman.

“I chose ORU because I saw it as a school where I could not only get closer to God and better my relationship with the Lord, but also be a part of a power (NCAA Division I) baseball program,” Bailor said. “It’s also a place where I will be able to improve myself by the people I’m around every single day on and off the field.”

As a college student, Bailor won’t need to travel far from home. ORU is little more than a brisk bicycle ride from his residence. It is about a 20-minute drive between his house and campus.

“Another reason I chose ORU is because of the closeness to my hometown Bixby and my family I have here,” he said. “My family has always been an important part of my life, and I am excited to get the opportunity to go to my dream school and continue to be with the people I’m closest with.”

Bailor is a large fellow at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. Though there isn’t much distance between ORU and Bixby, there is plenty of difference between baseball at the high school level and college D-1.

“This year as a senior, I aspire to improve every aspect of my game as much as I can in preparation for the competition coming up next year at the college level,” he said. “Everything from the gym to fundamental aspects of the game can always be improved for someone, and that’s what I plan on working on every day this final year at Bixby.”

Life on campus is still a few months away, and Bailor is still considering his academic options.

“I am currently undecided on my major, but I know God has a plan for me, and as my studies and life experiences continue, I know the right path will be revealed,” he said.

Bailor said being a citizen of the Cherokee Nation has availed some resources that have helped him with his education.

“The Cherokee Nation has provided my family and me with generous things such as school supplies and tutoring, as well as COVID relief aid during the recent pandemic,” he said.

He is also very much aware of his Cherokee lineage and embraces the culture.

“A lot of the core values of the Cherokee heritage is something I keep close to me to persevere,” Bailor said. “I have continued to utilize it to push myself through my school years and to get to where I am today. These values such as integrity, perseverance, courage and honesty are just a few on a long list of the values that come with being a Cherokee citizen.”