By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
The Hilldale Lady Hornets had a pretty good idea that their game with the Oologah Lady Mustangs on Monday was not going to be easy. And it wasn’t.
The Lady Hornets, 27-4 and No. 1 in the OSSAA Class 4A rankings, scored four runs in the bottom of the first and made it stand up and the beat the Lady Mustangs 5-3 at Hilldale’s diamond.
Kyla Ibarra, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs batted in, kept the rally going in the bottom of the first with a single up the middle to score McKensie Plant and Toni McMillan with the third and fourth runs of the inning. She was aware how critical her at bat was.
“If it was down the middle or my pitch, I just wanted to swing hard,” Ibarra said. “That was a very big at bat. We needed to score the runs.”
Destiny Riddle started and got the win in the circle to improve to 22-3 on the season. She finished the game with seven strikeouts but admitted to struggling with her pitches the whole game.
“I didn’t throw to the best of my ability today,” Riddle said. “My defense played well behind me. That helps out a lot.”
The Lady Mustangs (14-11) put pressure on the Lady Hornets in every inning but the sixth. Five of the other six innings, Oologah had at least two runners on base but was only two cash in the fourth inning with its only three runs of the game.
After the Lady Mustangs left runners on first and third in the top of the first, Hilldale had its four-run outburst in the bottom of the inning. Casady Mills got things going with a one-out single to right and Riddle followed that with single between first and second with Mills moving to third.
After Plant walked to load the bases, and Sarah Hughey struck out, McMillan ripped a single to left to score Mills and courtesy runner Megan Crow. Ibarra was next and delivered her single up the middle for her two runs batted in to make the score 4-0.
When Kenzie Mize grounded out to short to end the first, that was the first of eight straight batters retired by Oologah pitcher Hunter Jeffs (10-5) who struck out six Lady Hornets and scattered seven hits.
During that span, Oologah got runners into scoring position in the second and third innings, but were unable to bring a runner home. That was until the top of the fourth when the Lady Mustangs would score their three runs.
With the bases loaded and one out, Kenzie Kallio ripped a double to center to bring home all three baserunners. After moving to third on a groundout to second, Kallio looked as if she was going to score the tying run when Jeffs sent a ball up the middle, but Sarah Hughey corralled the ball just behind second based and gunned out Jeffs to end the rally.
“Having that defense behind me makes me feel great,” Riddle said. “I thought that ball was through for a hit. Even on my worse days, I still have them behind me.”
The Lady Hornets would add an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single off the bat of Kenzie Mize, who plated courtesy runner Tory Maxwell.
The Lady Hornets are in action again at 5 p.m. today when they travel to Wagoner for a re-match with the Lady Bulldogs, whom Hilldale run-ruled at Hilldale last month.