Chickasha had to find out the hard way. All it took was one swing of the bat.
Deadlocked at 2 in the seventh inning, Chickasha discovered what most of the state already knew: Randee O’Donnell is quite good at softball.
Tahlequah’s senior shortstop blasted a three-run home run over the center field wall, and Tahlequah was suddenly up 5-2 — which would ultimately be the final score between the two teams in the Class 5A state tournament quarterfinals.
“Randee did what big players do,” Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud said following the game.
Chickasha shouldn’t have bad, though. O’Donnell terrorized most of Tahlequah’s opponents this season.
She finished the 2013 campaign with a .442 batting average, three home runs, 45 runs batted in, 24 walks and only 10 strikeouts.
With numbers like that, naming the Player of the Year in District 5A-3 was a cinch. O’Donnell, an Oklahoma State commit, beat out players from Claremore, Collinsville, Pryor, Grove, Skiatook, East Central and Coweta to claim the district’s top honor.
“She had four great years and worked hard to get where she is at,” Cloud said of O’Donnell, who hit .542 with runners in scoring position. “She will have a great future.”
Claremore’s Ally Johnson was named 5A-3’s Pitcher of the Year, and Jim Sherl was named Coach of the Year with Claremore winning the district title.
Tahlequah’s Lindsay Wade was an All-District 5A-3 selection at pitcher. Wade, a sophomore, finished the year 17-3 with a 1.23 earned run average. She also finished with 97 strikeouts and 45 walks in 136 2/3 innings.
Tahlequah’s other All-District selections were Whitney Wright at catcher, Lainey Wallace at third base and Marisa Girdner in center field. The Lady Tigers’ five All-District selections were second to Claremore, who picked up six.
For Wallace and Wright, they both picked up honors at positions they didn’t start the year at. Wright moved from third base to catcher, and Wallace was relocated to third base from right field when Wright’s services were needed behind the plate.
“I think they played way over their heads, as far as my initial expectation,” Cloud said. “Not saying they aren’t good players, but they were thrown in a tough spot.”
Wright posted a team-high batting average of .447 with 38 runs batted in, five triples, three home runs and 11 stolen bases. Bolstering the bottom half of Tahlequah’s lineup, Wallace hit .314 with 35 runs batted and 10 extra-base hits.
Tahlequah players left off the All-District honor roll were Kirsten Chase and Kortney Dry. At second base, Chase only hit .256 with seven home runs and 38 runs batted in while holding down the cleanup spot. Dry had a .382 average while driving in 32 runs, and she also posted a team-high fielding percentage (.979) at first base.
“I think Kortney has a legitimate argument,” Cloud said. “She put up great numbers and had very few errors, but they went with a couple of seniors. But that’s how it goes.
“Kirsten didn’t have a great year at the plate, but I think she rebounded well in the last two weeks of the year.”