MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

April 7, 2012

Tahlequah still perfect, wins three in Slug-Out

— From a defensive perspective, Friday’s final game of day two of the 25th Muskogee Slug-Out was not a matter of who wanted the win but for the most part who didn’t.

The two teams combined for nine errors but it was Tahlequah which prevailed, coming from behind twice for a 10-7 over Sequoyah to finish the day with a 3-0 mark in pool play, mirroring their unblemished season mark (19-0).

Sequoyah took advantage of five Tahlequah errors for five unearned runs but saw the Lady Tigers come from behind twice to win 10-7, wrapping up the second day of pool play with a 3-0 mark, mirroring their unblemished season mark (19-0).

“I knew when we weren’t swinging it well early on, we were going to be in trouble,” said Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud. “Today was the first day our defense has let us down. We had made eight errors in 18 games and today we made five. Sequoyah is a good club and if you give them extra outs, they’re going to take advantage of it.”

The Lady Indians (7-7) jumped out on top in the top of the second with two runs, both unearned, and left the bases loaded. Feather Pacheco drove in the first on a groundout and Susie Davis drove in the second run on a fielder’s choice.

That lead held until the bottom of the third when the Lady Tigers, No. 2 in the Okrankings.com Class 6A poll, scored three runs all courtesy of a three-run home run by Whittney Whittmore, who went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBIs. That scored Marissa Girdner, the No. 10 batter in the order, and Jessica Blalock to put Tahlequah up 3-2.

“We all have to work as a team,” Whittmore said. “I knew that if the bottom of the lineup got on, the top had to drive them in. I was just looking for an opportunity to get it in the gap, not necessarily hit it over.”

That lead lasted until Sequoyah, 11th in 5A, finished its next at bat. The Lady Indians tallied two more runs on singles by Davis and Keisha Jones, the only two runs scored off of Blalock that were earned, putting Sequoyah up 4-3.

Tahlequah wasted little time in regaining the lead, scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Girdner and a sacrifice fly by Blalock, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. to give the Lady Tigers a 5-4 advantage.

“They hit the ball hard all the way through their lineup,” said Sequoyah coach Larry Grigg. “We played the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class 6A (Friday) and lose 4-3 to Westmoore and 10-7 to Tahlequah. We’re getting better.”

Sequoyah, who beat run-ruled Berryhill 10-0 in its first game of the day before falling to Westmoore, regained the lead in the sixth with three runs, all unearned, on singles by Baylee Ratliff, Kara Linch and Sahara Henson to put the Lady Indians up 7-5.

The bottom of Tahlequah’s lineup began the Lady Tigers’ rally in the sixth, beginning with a lead-off double by Randee O’Donnell, the No. 7 hitter, and singles by Shelby Sanders and Bub Peters, which scored O’Donnell, cutting the deficit to 7-6.  Tahlequah, who run-ruled Pocola and Berryhill by identical 10-0 scores in its first two games, tied the score on a bases-loaded walk by Whittmore and tallied three more times on a single by Jenna Reed, a fielder’s choice by Kaitlenn Rippetoe and a single by Britney Jones for the final margin of victory.

“When we get runners on, we know the top of the lineup can get hits and get runners in,” Blalock said.

Tahlequah gets its biggest test of the season today in Westmoore, the winner taking the pool and a spot opposite either Muskogee or Jenks in tonight’s 6:45 championship game. Tahlequah and Westmoore play 12:30 p.m. The losers of both games will play for third place at 5:30 p.m. Muskogee-Jenks play at 1:45 p.m.

Muskogee or Jenks in the third-place game which precedes it at 5:30.

Sequoyah, 1-2 in pool play, meets Pocola, also 1-2, at 10 a.m. and returns to play Muldrow at 4:15 p.m.

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