The Lady Red softball team advanced to play Checotah on Wednesday, October 9.
A win would be followed by a Regional Championship game against Skiatook. A loss would mean their season was over. Unfortunately for the Lady Red and their fans, they won one game and lost the second ending their season a game short of their goal of making the state tournament. They finished with a record of 25-10.
Grove 3, Checotah 1
The Lady Red defeated Checotah by a score of 3-1. Grove got things going immediately in the bottom of the first inning with a single by senior Anastasia Pace followed by a Laken Malone single to left. Elizabeth Cash almost got a third hit in a row but a great play by the Checotah shortstop left the Lady Red with runners on the corners and two outs. Senior Mikalle Pair came through in a big way with a line drive double down the left field line. The swing scored two runs and put the Lady Red up 2-0.
Malone started for the Lady Red in the circle and was nearly flawless. She gave up 1 unearned run, 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 8. The win put the Lady Red in position to fight for a Regional title and a possible third consecutive trip to the Oklahoma state tournament.
Ava Sarwinski and Dawn Blake also added a hit each for the Lady Red.
Skiatook 3, Grove 0
The win over Checotah set up a Regional Championship matchup against Skiatook. Neither team broke though in the first inning, although Pace did manage to walk and give the Lady Red a baserunner. Neither team managed a runner in the second.
Skiatook was able to get a few things going in the third inning starting with a bunt single. The next batter bunted and the Lady Red threw the ball away. A third bunt resulted in another Grove error as the throw hit the Skiatook runner in the back and rolled away allowing the games first run to score.
The next thirteen batters were retired in a row, keeping the score 1-0. Skiatook threatened to score again in the top of the 5th with two outs when they were able to work a walk and a the Lady Red made an error in the field. With two outs, the batter grounded out to Pair at short ending the threat.
The Lady Red tried to get things going in the bottom of the 5th. Pair lead of with a line drive single to centerfield. The next two batters struck out but with two outs, freshman Zoie Salkill singled on a hard ground ball to right field. Pair went from first to third putting the tying run only 60 feet away. The Lady Red were unable to score that run when pinch-hitter Kaylee Shepherd struck out for the third out.
In the bottom of the 6th the Lady Red tried again when Sarwinski singled to lead off the inning. Pace sacrificed her to second but Malone and Cash couldn’t drive her in.
Skiatook made their lead seem almost unreachable scoring two runs off another Lady Red error. With a 3-0 lead, the game came down the Grove’s last at bat.
Pair lead off with a line drive down the right field line into the corner starting the inning with a promising triple. The next three hitters were unable to drive her in and the Lady Red’s season came to an end.
“It was a good season,” head coach Jeremy Collins said. “I don’t want to take anything away from what these seniors accomplished. They made two trips to state and lost in two Regional finals. They won over a 100 games and left a legacy behind. I’m extremely proud of these girls.”
The Lady Red finished their strong season with a record of 25-10. They finished second in their district and Regional Final runner-up. A trip to state eluded them, but the Lady Red are already working on preparations for the 2020 season.