By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Keith Coleman felt a surge of confidence when he looked at his lineup going into the seventh inning.
As it had all day, the top of the order produced as needed.
Paige Gann’s hard-hit single up the middle, aided by a misplay by rover Jamie Linch as it skipped by her to the fence, scored Shaylee Rowland with the winning run as Muskogee edged Sequoyah 8-7 in the final game Friday in the Rougherettes Park pool of the 26th Muskogee Slug-Out.
Rowland had singled to lead off the inning and raced home with the winning run, capping a 3-0 day for MHS. Seeking a fifth consecutive finals trip, the Lady Roughers (19-6) beat Poteau 8-2, held off Jenks 6-4 and now face a decisive pool-decider at 1:30 today against Westmoore as the remaining action is condensed to their home field. Westmoore is ranked No. 2 in Class 6A and MHS is sixth.
“I think our top of the lineup is as good as anybody’s in Oklahoma, so yeah I felt confident,” Coleman said. “Two hits and it was over.”
Gann hit her eighth home run of the year as part of a four-run first and finished 3-for-4 two RBIs. Rowland was 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot and Dee Emarthle was 3-for-3 in the three-hole. Jessi Venable, hitting cleanup, had a 2-for-3 game.
The No. 5 hitter, Kelsey McClure, plated two runs on a hard single through the left side of the infield just off the glove of Indians shortstop Kelsey Leach, which led to two runs. McClure had three RBIs in the game.
Rowland was 3-for-4 against 6A No. 7 Jenks (14-7), including a leadoff double off the fence in center field to start a three-run rally after trailing 4-2 thanks to four MHS errors. Gann was 2-for-3 and drove in an insurance run in the sixth. Against Poteau, Rowland was 3-for-3 with Gann and Emarthle each 2-for-3.
Sequoyah (5-6) edged Muskogee 15-14 in the hits department, two each off the bats of Kara Linch, Megan Towie, Mariah Hooper and Jamie Linch. Yet it wound up an 0-3 day for the defending 5A champs. A 3-2 loss to Poteau was the first disappointment, then the Lady Indians were pounded by Westmoore 11-0.
“We got here late, weren’t real loose, then gave them three runs to start the game we couldn’t quite answer for,” Sequoyah coach Larry Shade of the Poteau loss. “The Westmoore game was simply against a team that hit better. Their 3-9 spots can hit it out or anywhere to get on. They’re just tough.”
Muskogee’s defensive flaws against Jenks at least ended there. Rover Hannah Alexander, who had two of the three dropped flies accounting for three Trojans runs, redeemed herself in the Sequoyah seventh inning on a great running grab at the fence off the bat of Leach
Westmoore beat Poteau 8-0 and Jenks 15-10. The Jaguars were upended 20-17 by Muskogee in a game at the Moore tournament last week.
“Six through 10 in our lineup had 10 hits and we finished with 29,” Coleman said. “It’s one of the best offensive games since I’ve been here and it will take that kind of effort tomorrow.”
“Our team knows what to do against them. You get the outs when you can, you know, and you keep them to as little bases as possible and you have to hit with them. If you don’t, they’ll run-rule you.”
In the pool played at Tahlequah High School due to Thursday’s rain, 6A No. 5 Union went 2-0 but has its toughest tasks today, taking on Red Oak in the first game at 11 a.m. and Tahlequah at 2:45 p.m. A Red Oak win will put the No. 1-ranked team in the Class A rankings in the championship game, set for 6:30 p.m. Red Oak knocked off 6A No. 4 Tahlequah 9-3 as the Lady Tigers went 2-1 on the day, beating Stilwell 7-2 and Muldrow 5-3.
Randee O’Donnell and Kirsten Chase both hit home runs for the host Lady Tigers (17-2) and a disappointed coach Matt Cloud.
“We really didn’t play well,” he said.
Poteau 3, Sequoyah 2
Poteau 10, Jenks 8
Westmoore 11, Sequoyah 0
Muskogee 8, Poteau 2
Westmoore 8, Poteau 0
Westmoore 15, Jenks 10
Muskogee 6, Jenks 4
Muskogee 8, Sequoyah 7
Red Oak 10, Muldrow 2
Muldrow 11, Stilwell 3
Red Oak 10, Stilwell 0
Red Oak 9, Tahlequah 3
Tahlequah 7, Stilwell 2
Union 7, Muldrow 2
Tahlequah 5, Muldrow 3
Union 13, Stilwell 0
At Muskogee HS: Red Oak vs. Union, 11 a.m.; Jenks vs. Sequoyah, 12:15 p.m; Muskogee vs. Westmoore, 1:30 p.m.; Tahlequah vs. Union, 2:45 p.m.; Fifth place, 4 p.m. Third place, 5:15 p.m.; Championship, 6:30 p.m.