Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

August 10, 2012

Fort Gibson shuts out Keys

FORT GIBSON — It’s a whole new look for the Fort Gibson Lady Tigers softball team for 2012. And that applies to not only the players, but also the style of play.

The Lady Tigers used speed and played small ball successfully en route to an 8-0 win over the Keys Lady Cougars in a run-rule shortened affair Thursday afternoon at the Fort Gibson diamond. It was the second consecutive shutout for freshman pitcher Madison Higley, who whitewashed Wagoner 12-0 on Tuesday.

“I was kind of nervous to start out the season, but my first two games they were pretty good and I’m really excited for this year,” beamed Higley, who limited Keys to just two hits while striking out nine in the season opener for the Lady Cougars.

Fort Gibson (2-0) got all the offense they would need in the first inning, scoring three times without getting the ball in the air. Mackenzie Williams and Brooke Benham started the game beating out infield singles, and Emily Rigsby reached on an error to load the bases. Speed paid off again as the Lady Tigers scored two runs on fielders choices and the third on a seeing-eye grounder to right by Raelee Waltman.

“We have more speed than we’ve had in the past versus power,” said Lady Tigers coach Jamie Snyder. “You have to play to the strengths of your team, which for us is speed, until we got some of the bats going at the end.”

Fort Gibson got another run in the fourth inning to make it 4-0. Meanwhile Higley spotted her pitches well and kept the Lady Cougars (0-1) guessing.

“My curve ball and screwball were working well today,” said Higley. “My rise fastball was also good.”

Fort Gibson finally got to Keys pitcher Jesi Stopp in the sixth. Cheyenne Johnson led off with a single to right-center. Two batters later with two runners aboard, Sydney Murry delivered a two-RBI double and later scored the final run of the game on the fifth hit of the inning delivered by Rigsby. Williams.

Benham paced the Fort Gibson offense with three hits each.

For the Lady Tigers, who graduated seven starters from last year’s Class 4A quarterfinalist, it’s a whole new look.

“We have a whole new crew out there this year. I ended the game with four freshmen and five sophomores on the field,” said Snyder.

“We also have a couple of juniors that will factor in to the team. These girls may be new to high school softball but they’ve played ball their whole lives and they’re competitors and I think we have just as good a chance as anybody else.”

The Lady Tigers will host a festival this weekend with Tahlequah, Jenks, McAlester, Muldrow and Locust Grove providing the competition. Fort Gibson will start play against Muldrow at 10 a.m.. Saturday.

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