By BEN JOHNSON
Tahlequah’s trip to Moore over the weekend was quite successful. The Lady Tigers logged five wins against ranked opponents and only one loss — to Class 6A No. 1 Moore in the Big Cat Classic finals.
Tahlequah came back to eastern Oklahoma feeling pretty good about itself.
Hence, the lull 6A No. 6 Tahlequah suffered against 4A No. 13 Oktaha on Monday afternoon. Tahlequah swept Oktaha, 12-7 and 12-4, at Lady Tiger Field, but it was far from Tahlequah’s best performance of the season, Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud said.
“Taking nothing away from Oktaha, but I think we came out a little flat (on Monday),” Cloud said. “We just kind of rolled it out there. But we played error-free ball and cut our walks down in the circle. We just grinded it out.”
In the first game, Randee O’Donnell with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate. The junior shortstop also drive in three runs, two coming on a double in the third inning.
Bub Peters also had three hits for Tahlequah, including a RBI single that gave Tahlequah to lead for good in the first inning.
Oktaha claimed a brief lead in the first inning on Kelsey Cantwell’s two-run home run to left-center field.
Tahlequah followed with a three-run rally in the bottom half of the inning and never looked back. After Britney Johnson singled and O’Donnell walked, Whitney Wright singled up the middle and plated two runs. Peters then followed by knocking in Kortney Dry, who walked ahead of Wright.
Tahlequah eventually took a 9-2 lead after two innings thanks to six runs in the second frame. Erin Dillard, Johnson, Marisa Girdner, O’Donnell, Kirsten Chase and Wright all drove one run apiece in the inning.
Oktaha (5-3) plated a run in the third, three in the fifth and one in the seventh but never threatened to take the lead late.
In the second game, Tahlequah again tallied a six-run second inning to take control. Chase punctuated the inning with a three-run home run to center.
Chase, Johnson and Lindsay Wade all finished the game with three runs batted in. Wright and Wade both had three hits apiece, while Tahlequah posted 18 hits.
Dillard picked up the pitching victories for Tahlequah in both games.
Tahlequah (15-1) is slated to host Fort Gibson today, but an ominous forecast — with 100 percent of rain — has but the doubleheader in doubt.
“We tried to move (Tuesday’s) games to Wednesday and play at 2 o’clock, and the OSSAA said absolutely not,” Cloud said. “We were going to shut things down by 4:30. Then I asked if I needed to start shutting practices down by 4:30, and they wouldn’t give me an answer. Typical.
“We can’t fight Mother Nature, so we’ll just keep playing when we’re supposed to play.”
If the Fort Gibson games are rained out, it’ll be the second doubleheader washed out at Lady Tiger Field. A two-game series against Jenks on March 11 was postponed because of rainfall.
“The part about it is we keep getting our home games rained out,” Cloud said. “I think we have one of the nicest parks in the state, and I hate to go on the road when we can play at home.”