By MIKE KAYS
MUSKOGEE — Two late surges and one fast start defined Tuesday’s three-way battle between Muskogee, Sequoyah and Oktaha at Rougherettes Park
Muskogee rallied past Sequoyah 6-5, then the Lady Indians rallied past Oktaha 10-4 before the Lady Roughers made it 2-0 on the day with an 8-0 blanking of the Lady Tigers.
Muskogee 6, Sequoyah 5
Brook Hendrickson sparked a three-run rally with her third hit in as many at bats, rallying the Class 6A No. 4 Lady Roughers from a two-run deficit in the seventh.
“Good job out of our 10 hole and when we get that, we get back around to the top of our order where we’re strong,” MHS coach Keith Coleman said of Hendrickson. “She’s been struggling so it was good to see her hit well and get us started (in the seventh).”
Hendrickson felt the sense of urgency, but did what she had done in three previous at-bats — hitting on the ground and line drives.
“In my mind it was just ‘get a base hit.’ That’s all I was thinking,” she said. “The struggle has been that in that I’ve been dropping my hands and popping up.”
Mariah Hooper broke a 3-all tie in the top of the seventh for 5A No. 9 Sequoyah with a two-run homer to left. But starting with Hendrickson’s base hit, Muskogee would come back against Hooper, whose tough day in the pitcher’s circle centered around a wicked one-hopper off the bat of Muskogee’s Jessi Venable in the first inning which caught her in the neck. After a short time out, she was able to shake it off, but in the end, not the MHS offense.
Paige Gann came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit double to cut it to 5-4, then Dee Emarthle had her first hit of the game, a single to tie the contest.With runners at the corners, Carlee Gann, who drove in the first run of the game for Muskogee, beat out a potential inning-ending double play for a game-ending fielder’s choice RBI.
Kaitlyn Kaiser singled in the other run in the first for MHS. Audrey Johnson did the same in the second. For Sequoyah, Susie Davis singled in a pair of runs as part of a three-run inning to tie matters in the fourth.
Sequoyah 10, Oktaha 4
Kylie Weidel’s bases-loaded single in the first for Oktaha bounced off Lady Indians left fielder Feather Pacheco’s knee as she attempted to field it, ricocheting into foul territory and pushing across three of Oktaha’s four first-inning runs.
Kelsey Leach led Sequoyah back, launching a solo home run in the first, hitting a screaming line drive down the line to help score a run in the third and tripled over the head of Oktaha left fielder Caitlin Sikes in the fifth in what became a six-run eruption that sent 11 batters to the plate.
“We finally started hitting and everyone kind of caught on,” Leach said.
Oktaha pitcher Callie Barnes’ dive in an attempt to snag a liner off the bat of Feather Pacheco might have halted the rally before it even got going. Instead of two outs in the inning, Kara Linch, Leach, Hooper and Davis all registered hits in the fifth, Davis’ single scoring the go-ahead run.
Marissa Sanders and Taylor Owl singled in runs behind them, making it an 8-4 game.
Pacheco led off the sixth with a triple and scored on Linch’s single as Sequoyah would finish with a two-run inning to snap a seven-game losing streak, all coming against 6A top 10 teams.
“Early on, what we hit was right at somebody and we weren’t really aggressive. We can be that way, it’s just a mind-set for us,” Sequoyah coach. Larry Shade said.
Muskogee 8, Oktaha 0
Little did Oktaha coach Kia Holmes know the Lady Tigers’ only runs would be the ones they got barely off the bus.
Following the four-run first, they were shut out for 12 consecutive frames, sending no more than four to the plate in any inning.
“That’s the story of this season for us,” Holmes said. “One inning we’ll look good then we’ll play two innings like we’re non-existent. Maybe it will get right before the playoffs.”
Venable singled in one of two Muskogee runs in the first. Shaylee Rowland’s solo home run in the third made it 2-0, then a three-run inning highlighted by Nia Maxwell’s rocket of a double down the left field line, Hendrickson’s fourth hit of the day and a bases-loaded walk by Paige Gann that forced in a run.
“I’m starting to get my timing back,” said Maxwell, who was out two weeks with an eye injury she sustained when she was struck by an errant throw during warmups at the Bethel tournament.
Muskogee moved to 21-8 with the win. Oktaha, 13th in 4A, fell to 6-7 with its fourth loss in as many games to a team in any classification’s top 10.