Friday was a day of memorable highs and crushing lows for four area softball teams at Washington’s Lady Warrior Invitational.
Konawa, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, started the day with a third straight win this season over old rival Byng, 11-3, in the morning and a dramatic 6-4 victory over Merritt in the afternoon before dropping a 13-5 decision to defending champion (and Class 5A No. 1) Purcell in a winner’s bracket semifinal Friday night.
Byng followed the loss to Konawa with impressive victories over area rivals Latta (15-14) and Roff (21-6) but ended the day by blowing a nine-run lead and falling to Class A No. 1 Leedey, 11-9.
Roff (ranked No. 6 in Class 2A) started the day with a win over the Washington junior varsity but went home after run-rule losses to Blanchard (No. 2 in 5A) and Byng.
But the ultimate hard-luck story belonged to Latta. The Lady Panthers opened with a tough 5-4 loss to Merritt, then they lost an eight-run lead and their team leader in the midst of Byng’s game-winning fifth-inning rally.
Junior Keeli Kessinger, playing in just her third game after missing the first part of the season with an undisclosed illness, aggravated the knee injury (a torn ACL) she suffered during preseason basketball last fall. Kessinger, the Latta first baseman, collapsed in pain after taking a throw in the fifth inning, and she had to be carried off the field.
“We’re not sure (how severe the injury is),” Latta coach Jim Foster said. “She’s going to Tulsa for an MRI Monday. We won’t know anything until then.”
When the smoke cleared, Konawa was the tournament’s only area representative heading into Saturday, and the Lady Tigers — the 2010 runners-up — faced a tough road through a loser’s bracket that also included Leedey, Valliant (No. 5 in Class 5A), Merritt (No. 7 in 3A) and (if they survived) the loser of the winner’s bracket final between Purcell and Blanchard.
Purcell 13, Konawa 5
Purcell (15-0) led throughout and fell just short of ending the game on the run rule with a seven-run outburst in the third inning that made it 12-1. But the Lady Tigers had numerous chances to climb back into the game.
Konawa (13-7 and ranked No. 1 in Class 4A) loaded the bases with one out in the first, third and fifth without scoring in any of those three innings. The Lady Tigers answered Purcell’s five-run first-inning rally with a run in the top of the second on a leadoff double by Chelsea Gillum and an RBI fielder’s choice by Jackie Coats, and they avoided being run-ruled — for an inning at least — with four more runs in the top of the fourth.
Marci Robertson started that rally with her second hit, a double to left-center, Coats singled with one out, and both scored on Ciara Kuestersteffen’s double over the third-base bag. Nikki Nail, who had walked to load the bases ahead after Coats’ hit, scored the third run in the inning on an RBI groundout by Melanie Gladden, and Courtney Capps plated Kuestersteffen with a single to center.
But after Konawa missed out on its third potential big inning in the top of the fifth, the Lady Dragons ended the game on Kaile Marcum’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Marcum, hitting in the two-hole for Purcell, also singled and scored on an error in the first inning and singled home two runs in the third. Leadoff hitter Logan Huey was 4-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, and three-hole hitter Bailey Goldsby singled and scored in the first and had singles to start and finish the Lady Dragons’ big third inning.
But the big gun in the Purcell arsenal was six-hole hitter Anna Pollok. Her three-run homer capped Purcell’s first-inning rally, and her grand slam was the big blow in the third. Pollok finished 2-for-3 with seven RBIs.
Kuestersteffen continued her outstanding junior season with three hits and two RBIs, and Gillum added a pair of doubles for Konawa, which was outhit only 17-13 but stranded 10 baserunners in five at-bats.
Konawa 6, Merritt 4
Merritt (6-4) capitalized on three Konawa errors to score three unearned runs in a game-tying fifth-inning rally, but Nikki Nail’s clutch two-out, two-run double in the top of the bottom of the sixth gave the Lady Tigers the win.
Robertson started the game-winning rally with a single to right-center, and Coats (Konawa’s 10-hole hitter) kept it alive when she lined an infield hit off the glove of losing pitcher Kenzy Nagle. Two pitches laer, Nail hit a line drive into the left field corner to give Konawa the lead for good, and the Lady Tigers turned their second double play of the game in the top of the seventh to negate a leadoff hit by Bree Waugh.
Konawa took a two-run lead in the first on Kuestersteffen’s single, Gladden’s triple and Chelsey Patterson’s RBI double and made it 4-1 with a two-run outburst in the fourth highlighted by Gillum’s double and Haley Terry’s RBI infield hit.
Patterson finished 3-for-3, and Nail, Gladden and Coats had two hits apiece for the Lady Tigers.
Byng 15, Latta 14
A walkoff RBI single to right-center by Kaylen Fike capped Byng’s three-run game-winning rally in the bottom of the fifth. Fike’s hit — her second game-winner in a week — followed a Latta error and RBI singles by Cailee Canada and Raygn Geiger.
Byng moved in front early on Presli Manuel’s first-inning grand slam, but Latta took the lead with a five-run second-inning rally highlighted by Carlee Henderson’s two-run homer and made it 12-4 with a seven-run third that featured RBI singles by Madison Abney and Kaitlin Hissaw.
Manuel’s second homer of the game, a two-run shot, was the big blow in a four-run Byng rally in the bottom of the third that made it close, and the Lady Pirates answered a two-run Latta outburst in the top of the fourth with a four-run uprising in the bottom of that inning highlited by Breanna Warner’s two-run double.
Warner finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, Manuel was 2-for-3 and drove in six runs, and Canada and Taylor Hailey added two hits apiece for Byng. Kessinger was 4-for-4 with four runs scored before her injury, Siera Green was 3-for-4, and Henderson and Shelby Parnacher added two hits apiece for Latta.
Byng 21, Roff 6
The Lady Pirates banged out 11 hits in a 14-run explosion in the top of the first inning and ended the game with a seven-run rally in the third.
Byng’s huge first inning featured an RBI single and two-run double by Mahgen Boissenin and was capped by Raetchel Gray’s first of two home runs in the game, a three-run shot to left. Warner also had two hits in the inning and, like Boissenin, finished 3-for-3.
Roff scored four runs in the bottom of the first, but Byng put the game away in the third with eight hits, including Gray’s two-run homer to left-center and RBI singles from Haley, Geiger, Taylor Hill and winning pitcher Ashley Sanders.
Hill also had three hits for the Lady Pirates, who recorded a season-high 22 hits. Taylor Canida was 2-for-2 with an RBI for Roff.
Leedey 11, Byng 9
Manuel’s second grand slam of the day was the big blow in Byng’s third huge inning in four at-bats — a seven-run first that also featured Gray’s two-run single, and the Lady Pirates (9-8) made it 9-0 in the second on Gray’s solo home run and Sanders’ RBI single.
But Leedey (19-1) chipped away, scoring a run in the third and three more in the fourth before stealing the victory with a seven-run fifth inning that featured a grand slam by Macy Perkins to make it 9-8 and a go-ahead two-run triple to center by Corianne Fairchild. Jenna Tressel plated Fairchild with an infield hit before the one-hour time limit ended the game.
Gray, Canada, Sanders and Jacy Huckeby had two hits apiece for Byng, which outhit Leedey, 10-9, but managed just two hits after the second inning.
Roff 10, Washington JV 2
Canida had as many hits (three) as the entire Washington JV squad and drove in three runs. The Lady Tigers trailed 2-1 early before scoring nine runs in their final two at-bats to pull away.
J.J. Stewart added a double in Roff’s 10-hit attack.
Blanchard 9, Roff 2
Roff led 2-0 after RBI hits by Canida and Lauren Trimmer in the first inning, but wouldn’t score again.
Canida again led Roff at the plate, going 2-for-2 while Trimmer finished 1-for-2 with a double.
After the Lady Lions tied the game with two runs in the second, they went ahead for good with four runs in the third.
C.R. Broyles went 3-for-4 with a double to lead a 15-hit Blanchard barrage.