By Jimmy Stinson
A lot of softball teams have already packed up the gear for the 2013 softball season, but that is not the case for the Muskogee Lady Roughers and the Oktaha Lady Tigers as they squeezed in another game before they take their next journey into the post season with the Lady Roughers coming out on top 6-1 at Rougherettes Park on Monday.
Oktaha (27-8), who won their Class 3A regional over Heavener last Friday, is readying itself for Henryetta at the state tournament in Shawnee which begins at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Muskogee (26-8) is preparing for Sapulpa at noon Wednesday at Rougherettes Park in the 6A regional tournament.
Scheduling a game against a quality opponent is sometimes hard to do this time of year, but the way the scheduling has worked out, it gave both teams a chance to get some more game-time experience and face live pitching.
“We are the type of team that has to keep playing to stay in a groove,” said Oktaha coach Kia Holmes after the game. “We usually schedule Muskogee, but this year it didn’t work out until now.”
Muskogee coach Keith Coleman agreed on the need to play.
“We just needed to play, we know how good Oktaha is,” he said. “They are year in and year out a state tournament team. We haven‘t played well the last couple of weeks and just needed to get on the field.”
Muskogee’s offense did most of their damage in the first two innings, plating four runs in the bottom of the first, and adding another in the second.
Aubrey Johnson led off the game with a double down the left field line and scored on a double by Shaylee Rowland. Rowland scored on a double by Dee Emarthle while Emarthle came home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Brook Hendrickson making the score 4-0.
The Lady Roughers fifth run came in the second when Hendrickson drew a walk, stole second and third and scored on an error by Oktaha catcher Callie Barnes.
Rowland kept Oktaha at bay through the first five innings, something her coach was very proud of.
“She pitched extremely well,” Coleman said. “Her location was good and she kept the ball down. When she gets in trouble is when she starts getting the ball up.”
The Muskogee senior, who on Friday was named the 2013 Homecoming Queen, agreed with her coach’s assessment.
“Friday I had trouble keeping the ball down and a girl hit a home run off me,” Rowland said. “Today I just had to work on hitting my spots”.
Rowland went five innings, allowing two hits, striking out seven while only walking two.
“It was good for us to see someone like (Rowland),” Holmes said. “She is a good pitcher and we won’t see better than her at state.”
Oktaha’s lone run came in the top of the sixth when Shea Lynch drew a one-out walk off of reliever Lexi Watson and moved to third on a Taylor Pevehouse single. Kelsey Cantwell picked up the RBI on a fielder’s choice to shortstop.
The final Lady Roughers’ run came in the sixth inning off Cantwell when Kaiser singled, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
Even with the six runs allowed, Holmes was pleased with the pitching and the teams effort.
“One of my goals was to throw all three of my pitchers and Taylor came in and did a good job,” Holmes said. “I would have liked to have thrown Kelsey more but it worked out well.”
Caitlyn Sikes started for Oktaha in the circle and took the loss, going an inning plus allowing five runs on four hits and a walk. Pevehouse relieved Sikes and tossed four innings, giving up two singles while walking one and hitting a batter.
Johnson finished the going 2-4 with a run scored while Rowland was 1-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Emarthle was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored while Watson was 2-for-3 with a run scored and Kaiser was 1-for-3 with a run.
Barnes, Pevehouse, Sierra Elam, and Sikes were all 1-3 for Oktaha with Lynch scoring the one run on the Cantwell RBI.