Starting late last month, the Roff slowpitch softball team found itself in a funk. During one rough stretch, the Lady Tigers lost six of eight contests and their schedule was about to get even tougher beginning with a trip to Konawa (No. 1 in Class 4A) last Thursday.
But Coach Kathy Gregson’s team passed that first test with flying colors, blitzing host Konawa 13-0 and followed that win up with an impressive 4-1 win over Stonewall at home Friday evening.
All of a sudden Roff (11-9) is now riding a four-game winning streak and the Lady Tigers (No. 7 in Class 2A) appear to be back on track.
“I think we just got tired of it,” Gregson said of Roff’s uncharacteristic slump. “The girls like to win, obviously it’s a lot more fun. They got tired of faltering. They knew they could do better, and they just got determined. It feels a whole lot better.”
The Lady Tigers followed their four shutout innings against local powerhouse Konawa with six more scoreless frames against a Stonewall club, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, quite capable of putting runs on the board in a hurry. Part of the credit goes to a defense that was error free during Roff’s latest two victories.
“That’s one thing we’ve always been able to count on is our defense. It kind of went away for a little bit, but it’s back now,” Gregson said.
Against Stonewall on Friday, Roff loaded the bases with just one out on singles by Kelsey Anderson and a walk to Taylor Canida. Lauren Trimmer hit an RBI single to push across the first Roff run and kept the bases loaded, but the Lady Longhorns (22-7) avoided any further damage when silky smooth shortstop Brettney Brady scooped up a ground ball by Jordan Grinstead, stepped on second and fired to first to complete a double play.
Consecutive singles by Skylar Grinstead, Magan Kile and Taylor McCoy to start the bottom of the second produced another Roff run to put the hosts on top 2-0. But Stonewall hurler Amanda Transue got out of that jam when Brady tagged out Kile between second and third for the first out, Monica Miller flied out to third for the second out and — after Anderson reached on an error to load the bases — Casey Kelley flied out to center field.
That two-run deficit must have looked huge for the Lady Longhorns, who had just two hits and no runs through six innings.
Stonewall’s biggest threat before spoiling the shutout in the seventh came in the top of the first when Bradianne Daniel walked with one out and Breann Gipson belted a double that moved her to third. But Cheyanne Miller flied out to center field to end the inning.
Kaitlinn Wright reached on a one-out infield hit in the top of the second, but Lyndsay Daffern lined out to Roff’s J.J. Trimmer at second who threw over to first for the easy double play.
Roff got a pair of unearned insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Kelley singled up the middle to start the uprising and Stewart reached on Stonewall’s third error of the day. Transue got two quick outs but Jordan and Skyler Grinstead hit back-to-back RBI singles to push the Roff lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Brady ripped a triple to right field — a well-hit ball that likely would have left the park if the wind hadn’t been blowing in — and Daniel drew her third walk of the game to put runners at the corners. Savannah Burwell reached on an infield single to drive in a run
Then Gipson — Stonewall’s cleanup hitter — stepped to the plate representing the tying run and hit a fly ball to right field that might have been a home run if not for the strong winds but was caught near the wall by Roff’s Anderson.
Gregson and company breathed a sigh of relief when Gipson’s ball stayed in the park.
“We have a freshman pitcher (Tori Brown) that’s still learning, but it’s things like that which makes her stronger,” she said
Brown caught a popup to end the game.
“Today was kinda rough for us. We didn't hit well, and the wind made it hard to hit anything for power,” said Stonewall head coach Christie Jennings. “Roff is a great team and is starting to play really well. We did not match their intensity today.”
Roff will again be put to the test Monday when the Lady Tigers hit the road for a battle with 4A co-No. 1 Colbert at 4:30 p.m. Stonewall hosts Maud (No. 5 in Class A) Monday at 5 p.m.