- Ada, Oklahoma

April 2, 2014

Latta softballers power by Roff

Jeff Cali Sports Editor

Latta — The Latta High softball team won seven of its last 10 games, including a strong third-place showing at the loaded Beast of the East Tournament in Stonewall last week, but dropped from No. 10 to No. 11 in the latest Class 4A rankings.

Head coach Jim Foster was none too pleased, and apparently his team was kind of miffed, too.

Latta pounded four home runs, finished with 16 total hits and powered past local rival Roff 18-9 at home Monday evening.

Latta improved to 8-6 overall while Roff — No. 5 in Class 2A — left with an identical 8-6 record. The Lady Tigers, after winning five straight, have now dropped three in a row, including a pair of games in the Beast of the East event (an 8-5 loss to the same Latta team and an 8-7 setback to Class 5A No. 8 Sulphur).

“I think we’re a Top 5 team in Class 4A. We just have to keep beating people and playing well, and maybe somebody will notice,” said Foster, who watched his team start the season 0-4 after jumping right into the 2014 schedule with very little practice due to an extended playoff run by the Latta girls basketball team.

“A little practice pays off. We hit the ball real well today,” he said. “We talked a little bit before the game ... and I think we had a little more relaxed approach at the plate and we hit the ball a lot better.”

After winning four straight games in the Beast of the East before settling for third place and then roughing up Roff, one might believe the Latta team is hitting its stride. Not Foster.

“We’re not even close to hitting our stride yet. Right now, we’re figuring things out. We still have some tweaking to do,” he said.

Roff didn’t make things easy on the Lady Panthers, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

Four straight one-out singles by Tori Brown, Ashley Cornell, Lauren Trimmer and Kendall Sanford pushed across the first two Roff runs before a fielder’s choice and a Latta error accounted for two more runs that gave the visitors a 4-0 lead.

Latta didn’t even flinch.

The Lady Panthers erupted for nine runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a two-run homer by Anna Wood and a three-run double by Chelsea Alexander. Matison Worcester had an RBI double during the uprising, and Latta also got run-scoring hits from Maria Priest and Bailey Eckert.

After Roff scratched for a single run in the top of the second, Latta scored four times in the bottom of the second. Madison Abney belted a two-run homer to right field and two batters later, Wood went deep again to almost the same spot in left center as her first home run of the game. Latta led 13-5 heading into the third inning.

Breecia Crawford drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the third that trimmed the LHS lead to 13-6, but Latta scored three more runs in the bottom of the frame.

Madison Abney hit a two-run single, and Alexander followed with an RBI hit that put Latta in front 16-6.

Roff got a two-run homer from Trimmer and an RBI single from Nichole Swallow in the top of the fourth to get within 16-9.

Maebree Abney’s two-run blast to center field for Latta in the bottom of the inning ended the scoring.

Alexander finished 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs to lead Latta's hit parade, while Maebree Abney, Worcester, Madison Abney and Wood all had two hits apiece.

Trimmer went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored, while Cornell had two hits and scored twice to pace the Lady Tigers. Swallow and Amy Crawford added two hits each in a 13-hit Roff offense.

Roff will host Varnum at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, while Latta will be involved in a revised Colbert Tournament this weekend. No times and matchups for that event had been released by press time.