, Muskogee, OK

March 28, 2014

MHS turns it around

After allowing 30 runs in bizarre outing, Roughers beat No. 1 BA

Phoenix staff report

— Whether it was the stars, biorhythms, umpire’s eyes or a mighty wind, softball became an odd game this week for No. 3 Muskogee.

After giving up 21 walks in two innings in a 30-16 loss at No. 10 Bixby on Tuesday, the Lady Roughers returned home and simply performed a beatdown on the No. 1 team in 6A Thursday.

Shaylee Rowland, Aubrey Johnson and Lexi Watson all homered — the first three by MHS against the newly constructed and higher home field walls — in a 10-0 run-rule win against the previously undefeated Broken Arrow Lady Tigers. Oh and Rowland, who in extreme uncharacteristic fashion served up all those walks on Tuesday, issued one on Thursday.

“I came out to practice before the game and I knew the wind was heavy. I knew what to do and it feels great,” Rowland said.

In Coleman’s assessment, it wasn’t much different than what she knew Tuesday. Rather, he said, it was what the home plate umpire knew.

“That up there was a lack of understanding on the strike zone,” he said. “The strike was determined by where the ball dropped and anything we threw above 6 or 7 feet he called illegal so you couldn’t throw an arc. And it’s hard to throw a ball flat with enough speed to land like it had to land for him to call it.

“But they pitched under the same conditions. The difference was we teach our kids to never take that kind of pitch, which is why we scored 16 runs. Bixby went a different way and didn’t swing the bat. It embarrassed us — it was out of our control — but we’ve never given up close to 30 since I’ve been here and I think it motivated us today.”

Muskogee’s response came quickly in the fashion of a four-run first inning. Carlee Gann’s two-run double on a line shot through the left side of the infield, an RBI single by Nia Maxwell and a sacrifice fly by Brook Hendrickson accounted for the runs.

“That’s a team I’ve ranked No. 1 all year and obviously we’re not close to 10 runs better than they are,” Coleman said. “Like I told the kids after Bixby put 30 on us, you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low because the tide changes every day. This is a good win but it’s March 27. Hopefully we’re playing well April 27.”

In the fourth, losing pitcher Kinzy Mathis walked the Hendrickson twins, Brook and Bailee, before Rowland got a 220-foot shot into the wind blowing at an angle toward the left field corner, clearing the 8-foot wall by a good 10 feet for a 7-0 MHS lead.

After going yard 19 times last season, this was Rowland’s first of 2014. Right behind her, Aubrey Johnson homered to left, her second of the season.

In the fifth, Watson, the All-Phoenix fastpitch Newcomer of the Year, came near the last blast on a one-out solo shot, her first in only her second game back.

Muskogee had nine hits with Rowland (2-for-2) and Gann (2-for-3) leading the way. BA (7-1) had five hits — the biggest a leadoff double in the third by the 10-hole hitter, Anna Farrow. While Muskogee tamed the wind for some long balls, all but two of the Lady Tigers’ outs were fly balls.

The Lady Roughers were to leave Thursday night for Moore and an 11 a.m. game today against Dale followed by pool games against Moore and Union later in the day.