Phoenix Staff Reports
The sign was ominous. Even though Oktaha had managed a 1-0 lead, the Lady Tigers had stranded nine of their 13 baserunners on the day to the point.
Kelsey Cantwell’s double brought in Kayla Pevehouse and that would be all Oktaha would muster in a 2-1, nine-inning loss to Panama on Tuesday at Oktaha in a rematch of the 2011 Class 2A state fastpitch softball championship game.
“It was just a mental day for us as in we didn’t come ready mentally to play,” Oktaha coach Kia Holmes said. “A lot of things we’d been doing really well, hitting in the clutch, dropping good bunts down, it just didn’t happen for us today.”
And that was eerily similar to the state title game, won by Panama 1-0. This time around, Oktaha, which fell to 13-3 with the loss, came in seventh in Class 3A and Panama was 10th in 2A.
Caitlin Sikes, who has seen limited stints due to some arm issues, had held Panama to two hits before leaving after the third for Cantwell, who was just as reliable through the remaining six frames, giving up just three hits.
Two of those came in the fifth with two outs after Cantwell hit a batter. Then in the ninth, Calista Buckley drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then Kendra Swindell singled her in.
“They’re both two different pitchers with different styles and it’s been an approach that has worked for us a couple times and worked for us again today,” Holmes said. “We just couldn’t get the runs to back them up.”
Cantrell helped her own cause going 3-for-5 with two doubles. Pevehouse was also 3-for-5.
Oktaha is at Warner on Friday.