SHAWNEE — Kelis Gore had stayed away from Randee O’Donnell all day. Then Chickasha’s pitcher accidentally missed her spot on the most important pitch of the day.
O’Donnell served a Gore pitch over the center field wall for a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, breaking a 2-all tie and sending Tahlequah to a 5-2 victory over Chickasha in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament in Shawnee.
“She had been feeding me outside all night,” O’Donnell said, “and she served me one down the middle and I took the opportunity. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was over.”
Chickasha (28-6) got a runner on in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Tahlequah pitcher Morgan Tarrance got Tristen Watkins to line out to second base to end the game.
Tahlequah will take on Carl Albert in the semifinals today at 2 p.m. at The Ball Fields at Firelake.
Chickasha struck first with two runs in the second inning, courtesy of a walk to Amanda Bradford and an error on Tahlequah catcher Whitney Wright. Bradford scored on Tori Smith’s fielder’s choice ground out, and Smith came across to score on Madison Snyder’s ground out.
From there, Tarrance shut Chickasha down. The Lady Fighting Chicks threatened with runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth inning, but Sndyer grounded out to Tarrance to end the inning.
Tahlequah (37-4) cut into Chickasha’s lead in the third inning when Marisa Girdner scored on an error when O’Donnell’s ground ball was booted by Chickasha shortstop Brighton Gilbert.
Scoring again in the fourth inning, Tahlequah plated the tying run when Caitlin Chuculate scored on O’Donnell’s sacrifice fly with one out.
O’Donnell finished the day one for three with five runs batted in. Obvioulsy, none bigger than the three came across to score on her three-run blast in the waning minutes.
“Randee did what big players do,” Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud said.
Tahlequah pounded Gore for 11 hits, including two apiece by Girdner, Wright, Kirsten Chase and Kortney Dry.
“I knew in BP (batting practice) today at Dale (High School), we were locked in,” Cloud said.
Tarrance picked up the pitching victory, logging seven solid innings of three-hit ball. The junior hurler walked three and struck out one.
“Morgan did a great job,” Cloud said. “She had been here two times before and didn’t get to pitch, but she came today and (did her job).”
With the win, Tahlequah avenged its first-round loss to Chickasha in the first round of the state tournament last year.
Class 5A state tournament
Tahlequah 5, Chickasha 2
Deer Creek 3, Collinsville 2
Carl Albert 8, MacArthur 1
Claremore 3, Duncan 0
Deer Creek vs. Claremore, noon.
Tahlequah vs. Carl Albert, 2 p.m.
Championship game, 1:30 p.m.