By Jimmy Stinson
FORT GIBSON – Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the pitchers in the circle and that’s exactly what should be done after a pitcher’s duel on Tuesday night in softball action at the Fort Gibson field.
Fort Gibson’s Madison Higley squared off against the duo of Kaitlyn Collins and Breezy Pruitt for the Wagoner Lady Bulldogs with Higley’s Lady Tigers taking the 2-1 victory in a battle of teams who seem to be building quite a rivalry.
Pushing her record to 16-4, Higley was able to keep Wagoner off-balance enough and only gave up one run while scattering five hits, walking two and striking out nine in going the distance for Fort Gibson.
”I hit my spots better tonight,” Higley said. “I actually had more speed than I did last night and my change up was working really well.”
Collins started for Wagoner (13-9) in the circle and took the loss. Collins scattered seven hits but was tagged with two earned runs. Pruitt relieved Collins in the bottom of the fifth and finished the game allowing only three batters to reach base, one on an error and two courtesy of walks.
The rivalry that seems to be brewing between these teams can be credited to the fact that they have faced each other three times in the last three weeks with two of the three games going extra innings.
All three games have been won by Fort Gibson. But Wagoner coach Emily Williams believes that sooner or later Wagoner will beat a ranked team.
”We have got to start hitting the ball sooner. Sometimes a ball in a hole will do as much good as swinging for the fences,” Williams said. “We have to execute the short game better. When asked to put a bunt down, we have to be able to do that.
“Right now I think it’s a mental block, there’s something about them.”
Class 4A No. 5 Fort Gibson plated one run in the third inning and another in the fifth inning. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Emilee Rigsby stole second and third to set up the RBI for Brea Jordan who singled to left. In the fifth inning, MacKenzie Williams reached on an infield single and came home when Rigsby drove a ball to the gap in left center, who was gunned down trying to stretch the double into a triple.
”I probably ran us out of a run there trying to bring her to third,” said Fort Gibson coach Jaime Snyder. “We left the bases loaded once but I thought we hit the ball better. MacKenzie hit the ball real hard. It’s hard to beat somebody three times.”
Wagoner had their chances to score, leaving six runners stranded during the game. The lone run for the Lady Bulldogs came in the top of the third inning when Kayla Teague doubled to left field and was driven in on a double over the left fielder’s head by Kenzie Davis. Davis finished the day going 1-for-4 with the RBI while Teague was 1-for-3 and the run scored.
The first three batters in the line up for Fort Gibson had the hot bats. Williams, the leadoff hitter, went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Rigsby was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI and Jordan finished the night also going 2-for-2 with and RBI.
Wagoner returns to action hosting Coweta at 11 a.m. Saturday it hosts while Fort Gibson travels to Oologah on Thursday to take on Haskell and Broken Arrow.