By BEN JOHNSON
Kortney Dry rounded second base and ended up getting caught in a rundown. She would be tagged out seconds later, and Tahlequah’s scoring changes were in peril in the second inning.
That’s when the bottom half of Tahlequah’s lineup pieced together a rally without an out to spare in the frame.
Four straight batters reached base for Tahlequah with two outs, three crossed home plate and Tahlequah would ride the trio of runs to a 3-0 victory over Coweta at Lady Tiger Field on Monday afternoon.
“It’s just kind of typical us,” Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud said. “I’m trying to sound like we’ve got it all figured out, but we’ve scored a lot of runs with two outs. And when I say it’s typical us, I’m saying we’re not panicking, not getting frustrated ... we always keep finding ways to do it.”
Lainey Wallace kick-started the offensive onslaught in the second inning with an infield single. She reached second base on a passed ball, and Bub Peters smoked a go-ahead double to right field to score Wallace. Caitlin Chuculate followed with a base on balls, and both moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch during Marisa Girdner’s at-bat.
Peters scored on an infield single by Girdner, and Chuculate wasn’t far behind, touching home plate on a wild pitch during Whitney Wright’s at-bat.
“I’ve said it before; we’ve got the best seven-, eight- and nine-hole hitters in the state,” Cloud said of Wallace, Peters and Chuculate, respectively. “I don’t know if I want to put it all the way out there, but I don’t know of a seven, eight and nine in the state — 6A to Class B — better than those three.
“It’s a team effort, and every day it’s someone else who comes up big and drives a run in for us. There’s only 12 of us, but we take care of each other.”
Three runs would be all Lindsay Wade would need in the pitching circle. Tahlequah’s right-handed hurler stifled Coweta hitters throughout the contest, tossing her third shutout of the year. Coweta (14-12, 4-4 District 5A-3) mustered only two hits against Wade, and two of those were doubles by Bailee Wolfe.
“I felt a lot better than the last few games,” said Wade, who improved to 13-1. “I was struggling with my confidence.”
Needing only 68 pitches (48 for strikes) in seven innings, Wade retired the final 13 Coweta batters she faced in order.
“She did a great job tonight,” Cloud said of Wade, who also logged five strikeouts. “She just did a good job. She settled down, and I just keep trying to tell her, ‘with your defense, if you throw strikes, you don’t need to keep picking on the outer half or whatever.’ She just has to throw strikes and lower her pitch count.”
Tahlequah improved to 25-1 overall and 8-0 in 5A-3 play before heading to Grove today for another district contest.