Tahlequah Daily Press

May 2, 2013

Defense fails Sequoyah in bid to repeat as Class 5A state champion

Sports Editor

— OKLAHOMA CITY — Sequoyah never made a living blowing opponents out in 2012. It was defense that carried the Lady Indians to the Class 5A championship last season.

This season, it was defense that cost Sequoyah a chance at a repeat bid.

The Class 5A No. 8 Lady Indians kicked the ball around to the tune of seven errors and lost to No. 5 Cache, 6-5, in the first round of the 5A state tournament in Oklahoma City.

“We had too many errors,” Sequoyah coach Larry Shade said. “And we didn’t hit the ball like we had hoped.”

After falling behind early, Sequoyah (14-11) managed to tie the game at 5 on Randi Hamilton’s throwing error in the top of the seventh inning. But it was another Hamilton girl that ended Sequoyah’s season only moments later.

After Lauren Mason and Nikki Horton singled to lead off Cache’s top half of the seventh, Torey Hamilton singled up the middle to give the Lady Bulldogs a walk-off victory.

While Cache manufactured its final run of the game, the first five were primarily gifts. Sequoyah totaled three errors in the first inning and two in the second, and — coincidence? — the Lady Bulldogs raced out to a 3-0 lead after one inning and a 5-1 advantage after two frames.

Two Cache runs scored on Kelsey Leach’s error in the first inning, and back-to-back errors for Sequoyah’s Kara Linch in the second inning led to two runs.

Before the final inning rolled around, Cache only had five hits. The Lady Bulldogs finished with eight.

Sequoyah had 12 hits but stranded seven runners throughout the course of the game.

The Lady Indians cut the deficit to 5-4 in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Linch and a two-run double by Mariah Hooper.

“The effort was there,” Shade said of his team attempting a mid-game comeback. “I just think the pressure — what they put on themselves — was a lot.”

Last season, Sequoyah walked out of ASA Hall of Fame Stadium with its first-ever softball championship. This season, a first-round exit meant a trip home empty-handed.

“It’s hard to walk out of here,” Shade said. “Last year, when we walked in, we didn’t expect much but gained a lot. We expected a lot (this year). But we proved ourselves throughout the year.”