By BEN JOHNSON
Baylee Ratliff had been mired in a recent offensive slump. All she was looking to do was be a contributor — in any form or fashion.
“It’s been a while for me since I had gotten on base,” said Sequoyah’s right fielder. “I’ve been struggling.”
She broke out in a big way on Tuesday afternoon, uncorking two extra-base hits to right-center field — a triple to tie the game and a tie-breaking double — to lift Class 3A No. 1 Sequoyah to a 3-1 triumph over Kansas at Sequoyah High School.
“Baylee Ratliff has been struggling,” Sequoyah coach Jeff Turtle said. “But she really came through with two clutch hits.”
Ratliff teamed up with Hayleigh Galvan on a game-tying effort in the fourth inning.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, Galvan and Ratliff hit back-to-back triples with two outs to pull even with 3A No. 12 Kansas (16-9).
“We just kept getting our heads down,” Ratliff said of Sequoyah’s early-game struggles. “Hayleigh Galvan was the one that started pumping us up.”
But it was Ratliff that provided the ultimate game changer two innings later in the sixth inning.
Sequoyah’s Symphoni Shomo and Megan Towie both reached on fielding errors by Kansas shortstop Kaley Stanley with no outs. Then, after Galvan lined out to center field, Ratliff laced a two-run double, helping Sequoyah improve to 21-5.
After being held without a hit for the first three innings, Turtle started to wonder if he was witnessing a carbon copy of the Lady Indians’ 4-2 loss at Oktaha last week.
“I kept thinking, ‘here we go,’” Turtle said. “We’d hit it hard, hit it hard right at them, and they’d make a play. Then it just kind of stagnated on.”
Luckily for Sequoyah, runs were nearly impossible for Kansas to come by. Credit for that goes to Kati Phillips.
The right-handed hurler gave up one unearned run in the first inning before retiring 18 of the final 19 hitters she faced.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple of games with just throwing strikes,” said Phillips, a junior who gave up two hits while striking out six.
“Being the No. 1 team, it’s always a constant battle to beat the other teams in our class.”
Sequoyah will be back in action on Thursday when it hosts the Fall Classic tournament. The Lady Indians play their first of three games on Thursday against Beggs at 10:50 a.m.