Tahlequah bounced back from a season-opening loss and came from behind to defeat Durant, 4-3, in its home and District 5A-4 opener Tuesday.
McKenna Wofford had two hits and gave the Lady Tigers a lead it wouldn’t relinquish during a three-run sixth inning.
The win is big for head coach Chris Ray’s group in what’s a difficult opening-week schedule.
“It’s big for us to get that first district win against probably the favorite going into the season,” Ray said. “It’s huge anytime you can protect your home turf and get some confidence for a young bunch going forward. You just have to keep throwing them in the fire, and we stepped up tonight.”
Wofford, one of just two seniors on the roster, singled to right field and brought home courtesy runner Alexis Kelley to break a 2-2 tie after Lexi Hannah came across to score on a wild pitch three pitches earlier. Wofford’s base hit came on a full count offer from Durant relief pitcher Sidney Paris.
“Boo was huge for us in a clutch situation,” Ray said. “She was also really good defensively and made a couple of nice plays.”
The Lady Tigers added their third run of the inning and went up 4-2 on a Nevaeh Moreno RBI single that scored Wofford from second base.
Wofford finished with two hits to pace the Lady Tigers offense. She also singled to left to lead off the fourth.
“You’ve got to take advantage of opportunities when they give them to you,” Ray said. “We did that. We capitalized on some passed balls and wild pitches. We got a couple hits when we needed them.”
Durant scored the game’s first two runs in the third before Tahlequah’s rally. Both runs came off defensive miscues — Isie Cox reached on an error, which allowed Madison Keel to score, and Cox later crossed home plate on a second error.
Sophomore shortstop Lexi Hannah put Tahlequah on the board in the home-half of the third when she singled to drive in Mia Allen.
The Lady Tigers got another complete-game outing from junior pitcher Bailey Jones. Jones, who went the distance in Monday’s 5-0 setback to Sand Springs, allowed one earned run on seven hits and recorded a pair of strikeouts.
“Bailey was great in the circle,” Ray said. “She hit her spots and stayed down in the zone. They really never hit her hard.”
Durant’s final run came in the seventh when Allison Keel doubled to left and eventually scored on a Carlie Sanders groundout to Wofford at third base.
Tahlequah closed with four hits, a day after being limited to three against Sand Springs.
The Lady Lions were led by Madison Keel’s two hits.
The Lady Tigers will be at the Broken Arrow Tournament on both Friday and Saturday.