By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
There might have been easier routes to take, but Warner coach George Dotson and his Lady Eagles opted to take the route that had a ditch at the end of it.
The Class 4A Lady Eagles drew 6A Muskogee in their season opener Tuesday at Rougherettes Park. And while the difference of two As may not seem like much, it’s deceptive in slowpitch due to the fewer number of teams that play it.
Two home runs by Shaylee Rowland and another by Dee Emarthle propelled the Lady Roughers to a 15-2 win that took less than a half-hour to call on a run-rule after 2 1/2 innings.
Rowland, the second batter for Muskogee, had a two-run shot in her first at-bat. She then parked a three-run shot in the second and Emarthle followed with a two-run shot three batters later.
Warner’s Kristen Lane hit a solo shot in the second inning and an RBI single by Brook Moses got another run in the third before Carlee Gann handled Tatum Elders’ pop fly at third base to end the contest.
“It is kind of a rough way to start,” Dotson said. “Adding to that we’ve had one day inside and one day outside to practice since basketball let out. But we knew what we were getting into. Muskogee’s a good club, they hit well, and they showed that. We kind of helped them with a few fielding problems that if not for those we might still be playing a little longer.”
It was Muskogee’s third game, moving the Lady Roughers to 3-0.
“We are one of those teams that aren’t affected by basketball, although we had a couple who play, and basketball does make it hard to get games with some who are still playing. You get games any way you can get them and I appreciate Coach Dotson for giving us one. We’ve seen them before and they’ve competed better but he does a great job with that program. They have success in 4A and will continue to.”
The twin blasts, which would’ve cleared even if not for a straight-away wind advantage, gave Rowland three for the season. She also had a single in a 3-for-3 day.
“It surprised me a little because I didn’t hit well in the cage before the game,” she said. “But I know I can. I did a lot of off-season weight lifting which I can see a difference from that.”
The Lady Roughers had 12 hits in all against losing pitcher Brandie Center. Aubrey Johnson joined Rowland as the only other player with a perfect day at the plate in two plate appearances, and Hannah Alexander had two hits in three at-bats. Nia Maxwell had a two-run triple in the first.
Warner had seven hits off Morgan Taylor, but no one with more than one and the biggest by Lane.
The Lady Eagles host Gore on Thursday as Muskogee hosts Jenks.