BROKEN ARROW-After a triumphant and unbeaten first day at the Broken Arrow Softball Tournament on Friday, the Grove Lady Red just couldn’t find the same magic against three of the toughest teams in the state on Saturday.
Grove beat Choctaw 3-2, Muskogee 4-3 and Mannford 10-0 to go undefeated in pool play on Friday, but a lack of timely hitting and a few mental mistakes ultimately doomed the Lady Red in losses to Yukon, Owasso and Tahlequah Sequoyah on Saturday.
In their first game of the day the Lady Red were dominated by the Lady Millers of Yukon, the second ranked team in Class 6A, 6-0.
But it was in their second game against fifth-ranked Owasso that Grove seemed poised to capitalize on Friday’s success.
Mason Jeffries and Ashleigh Tramel got things started for Grove with a walk and a bunt single in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Dodson followed by walking to load the bases before Katie Stout got the Lady Red on the board with a perfectly-executed squeeze play to score Jeffries.
Pitcher Jessica Walker then followed with a bloop single into rightfield to score Tramel and make it 2-0 GHS.
With the bases still loaded and no outs, it appeared the Lady Red were poised for an even bigger inning, but in a pattern too-often repeated on Saturday, GHS could not get another hit, with two strikeouts and an infield pop up ending the inning.
Jeffries and Tramel would team up again in the second to put another run on the board with back-to-back one out doubles to make the score 3-0.
Unfortunately the Lady Red would only muster two more hits over the final three innings of the game, while the Lady Rams would methodically stage a comeback.
With two out and nobody on in the top of the fourth, Owasso’s Hannah Stirton reached first on an infield single followed by a walk by Myranda Stewart. Senior infielder Courtney Vanlandingham then struck a big blow with a double to right centerfield to score Stirton and Stewart and make it 3-2.
Tory Fitch then singled up the middle to score Vanlandingham and tie the score at three.
Owasso would then take the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Chelsea Stout got things started with a walk, and an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt would put two runners on. Freshman Hailey Buchanon would then single to score Stout for what proved to be the winning margin.
Whitney Whitehorn would pitch a perfect fifth inning to preserve the win for Owasso.
“We played up to what I believe is our potential [against Owasso],” head coach Jeremy Collins said. “They made some mistakes early and we took advantage. It came down to who was going to make the last mistake and it was us. We gotta grow up from those things.”
The Lady Red would encounter more frustration in their next game against Tahlequah Sequoyah.
The Lady Indians, a state semifinalist in Class 3A a year ago, got solid pitching from Shannon Burnett and Jessica Bluebird and some timely hitting to get the 3-1 win.
For three innings Walker and Burnett kept the offenses off the board, but in the top of the fourth the Lady Red managed to break through with their only run of the game. Shae Scott came up with the big hit, a double to the left centerfield gap to score Walker and give Grove the early lead.
But Sequoyah would come back in the bottom of the frame. A walk, a single and a sacrifice fly would tie the score. Facing the next batter with a runner on third, Walker was called for an illegal pitch after she stepped off the pitching rubber after starting her pitching motion. The mistake would give the Lady Indians a 2-1 lead.
The offensive frustrations would continue for Grove (4-4), who left runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth inning.
Sequoyah (10-5) would add another run in the fifth when Saharra Henson hit a liner to the fence for a double that scored Kara Linch for the final 3-1 double.
“Our pitching was good,” Collins said. “We just needed to come up with timely hits. [Friday] we did, [Saturday] we didn’t. We’re still young.”
Collins also mentioned the grind of going against three top teams in one day. “That kind of wears on you. They’re all quality teams. You have to show up for every pitch in every at-bat. If you don’t they’re good enough to beat you.”
The Lady Red were scheduled to take on the Miami Lady Wardogs on Monday afternoon before traveling to Jay on Thursday.