PRYOR - A dominating pitching performance from Jessie Walker and an opportunistic offense were just enough for the Grove Lady Ridgerunners to squeak out a 3-1 win over Pryor in district softball Thursday night.
Walker struck out 16 batters and had a no-hitter going until the seventh inning, when a two-out double followed by a bloop single scored the Lady Tigers' only run of the game.
Prior to those two hits, Walker had only allowed a fourth inning walk to Pryor's Taylor Brooner, who was promptly thrown out stealing second base by Grove catcher Ashleigh Tramel.
"I can't say enough about how well she pitched tonight," Grove head coach Jeremy Collins said. "I feel like she's one of the best around, maybe one of the best in the state. When the moment arises, she knows when it's a big-time game and she knows when it's a big-time opponent. The last two years - time and time again - that's when she's at her best."
Thursday was the third time this season that Grove (9-2, 2-0 in district play) has faced a team ranked in the top-10 in either Class 5A or 6A. In those games, Walker has allowed just one run while winning all three.
The Grove offense, meanwhile, was able to take advantage of several Lady Tiger miscues to scratch out three runs.
After being held to one hit and one walk over the first three innings by Pryor sophomore Haley Young, the Lady Red got things going with a one-out walk by Taylor Dodson in the top of the fourth.
A sacrifice bunt by Mason Jeffries moved Dodson to third, who then scored on an error on Megan Freeman's hard-hit grounder to shortstop. Pryor's Sam Perry bobbled the ball, and her low throw to first couldn't be scooped by Kourtney Foster.
Grove would get their final two runs in the fifth. Morgan Knox led off with a walk followed by a one-out single by Tramel. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third. Dodson then hit a blooper to short right field that fell in front of a diving Brooner and rolled to the wall, giving Dodson a two-run double.
"We did just enough to get by," Collins said. "You have to take wins as they come. They made a few mistakes and we capitalized on them. It's a credit to the girls that even though we didn't perform at the plate like we wanted to we still found a way to score some runs."
Grove will travel to Oklahoma City today to play in the Hall of Fame Shootout. The Lady Red are scheduled to take on Class A Fletcher at 8:30 tonight and will play Chickasha, the 10th-ranked team in 5A, at 3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.