Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

May 7, 2014

Silver in Shawnee

Tahlequah, Sequoyah finish second at slowpitch state tournaments


SHAWNEE — Tahlequah's day of domination came to an end in the championship game.

After cruising past No. 7 Tecumseh and third-ranked Westmoore in the first two rounds of the Class 6A state tournament, Tahlequah finished on the wrong end of a 14-8 decision against No. 1 Southmoore in the title tilt.

Southmoore pounded out 19 hits — including seven in the first inning — en route its first-ever championship in slowpitch softball.

"They just scored five in the first and took the momentum," Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud said. "It's a momentum game, and we had the momentum all day and just couldn't ever catch up."

What surge Tahlequah had early on was fleeting. Senior shortstop Randee O'Donnell — whose next game will be in an Oklahoma State uniform — doubled to start the game, and she later scored on Whitney Wright's ground out to give Tahlequah a 1-0 lead.

But the Lady Tigers' early surge was thwarted by Southmoore's five-run attack in the bottom half of the first. Sabrina Childers started with a double, and Arielle James, Trenity Edwards, Lindsey Stoeckel, Katelyn Brown, Rachel Copus and Sydney Sherill all singled to give Southmoore (32-5) a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

"They hit it and they hit it good," said Cloud, whose team ended the season at 36-6. "They hit it good everywhere, and they had a good game plan and they stuck to it."

Tahlequah tallied two runs in the second inning on a single by Erin Dillard and a sacrifice fly by Marisa Girdner. However, Kirsten Chase's flyout to the wall in center field prevented Tahelquah from cutting further into Southmoore's 5-3 advantage.

Tahlequah's only other runs would occur in the fourth and seventh frames. O'Donnell capped off Tahlequah's three-run fourth with a three-run home run, and Lainey Wallace and Caitlin Chuculate both drove home runs before Tahlequah ran out of time in the seventh inning.

"They were better today," Cloud said of Southmoore. "We were just too far down, and every time we'd score two they'd score one or three or whatever."

Pouring it on in the third inning, Southmoore added four runs, three of which came on Morgan McMullin's three-run home run off the scoreboard in left field.

McMullin and James both drove in three runs apiece for Southmoore — which also won its first-ever fastpitch title only a few months ago in the fall of 2013.

Tahlequah was going after its first slowpitch state championship since 2006. Instead, it was a second-place finish in Shawnee.

"It was a good season," Cloud said. "Anytime you play on the last day, it's good. So, what do you do? We wanted to get here, and eight teams want to win and they won."

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