WASHINGTON — When a team plays a schedule as rugged as Konawa’s, tough losses are bound to come. But Thursday evening’s 4-3 setback at Washington might rank as the Lady Tigers’most disappointing of the spring so far.
In addition to going 3-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored from the No. 3 spot in the batting order, Konawa pitcher Sydney Stoup entered the bottom of the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead, courtesy of Melanie Gladden’s home run in the top of the sixth, and she had allowed just one hit since giving up a pair of runs in the second. Things unraveled in a hurry in the seventh, though.
Washington shortstop Lauren Pittman, whose defensive gem in the top of the seventh prevented Konawa from adding a key insurance run, led off the bottom of the inning with a line drive off Gladden’s foot for an infield hit.
Winning pitcher Lacy Paulk followed with a single to left-center that skipped past Konawa rover Christina Gladden and rolled to the wall. Pittman scored the tying run all the way from first and Paulk reached third on the error, and two pitches later Stacy Wilkerson hit a sacrifice fly to left-center that plated courtesy runner Katherine Curry with the game winner.
With the loss — Konawa’s second to a top-five team from its own class (4A) after opening the week at No. 1 in the rankings for the first time this season — the Lady Tigers dropped to 22-7 on the season heading into this weekend’s Hall of Fame Spring Classic. Today's games against Wellston and Granite were canceled and no word on Saturday's schedule (a 9:30 a.m. pool play contest against Weleetka) was available at press time.
Washington, which upset Class 6A No. 1 Moore, 4-3, on Monday, improved to 16-8 and figures to move up in the rankings next week after opening this week at No. 5 in 4A.
Stoup crushed a 1-1 pitch from Paulk high over the fence in left with two outs in the first to put Konawa up 1-0, but the only walk she issued in the game helped Washington take its first lead in the bottom of the second. Pittman walked on four pitches (Stoup went to three balls on only one other batter in the game), moved to second on Paulk’s single to right-center and advanced to third when Wilkerson lined out to Ciara Kuestersteffen at second base but Konawa first baseman bobbled Kuestersteffen’s quick throw to first.
A.J. Houghland plated Pittman with a fly ball to left-center, and 10-hole hitter Taylor Nixon put Washington in front with a bloop single to right-center to score Curry.
Kuestersteffen led off the second with a single to left, but consecutive ground balls to Pittman by Christina Gladden and Brooklyn Akerman produced a forceout and a double play to end the inning, then Houghland turned in the defensive play of the day to short-circuit a potential big inning for Konawa in the third.
Isaacs doubled to left-center with one out and advanced to third when Melanie Gladden lined a sharp two-out single to left. Reeves followed with a screaming line drive to right that Houghland fielded on one hop and fired to first to turn an apparent RBI single into a 9-3 putout that ended the inning with Stoup standing in the on-deck circle.
Stoup singled to left on Paulk’s first pitch in the fourth and scored the tying run on a one-out sacrifice fly to left-center by Christina Gladden, and the Lady Tigers took their final lead when Melanie Gladden drilled Paulk’s first offering in the sixth over the fence in left to make it 3-2.
Christina Gladden led off the seventh with an infield single and moved to second on a one-out hit by Chelsey Patterson. Paulk then threw two balls to Isaacs, who drilled the next pitch toward left-center. But Pittman went high in the air to snag the line drive and fired to second to double off Gladden and end the threat.
The 3-4-5 hitters in the Washington lineup were a combined 0-for-9 against Stoup, but Paulk and Nixon — hitting seventh and 10th in the order — each finished with two of the Lady Warriors’seven hits. Stoup was 3-for-3 and Melanie Gladden was 2-for-3 for the Lady Tigers, who had baserunners in every inning but the fifth, outhit Washington, 10-7, and had three extra-base hits to none for the hosts.
Washington 4, Konawa 3
KONAWA 100 101 0 — 3 10 2
WASHINGTON 020 000 2 — 4 7 0
Sydney Stoup and Emily Mocabee. Lacey Paulk and Stacy Wilkerson. WP-Paulk. LP-Stoup. HR-Stoup, Melanie Gladden (K). 2B-Elda Isaacs (K). HL-Stoup 3-3, 2 RS, RBI; Gladden 2-3, RS, RBI; Isaacs 1-3, Christina Gladden 1-2, RBI (K); Pittman 1-2, RS; Paulk 2-3, Taylor Nixon 2-3, RBI (W).