Paige Gann said it takes more than just making contact to be a successful hitter in slowpitch softball.
The Muskogee junior first baseman ought to know after slugging five home runs in the Lady Roughers’ three wins at the Muskogee Slug-Out at Lady Roughers Park on Thursday.
Gann slugged two three-run homers and a two-run blast in the 20-8 win against Muldrow. Her two-run homer against Vian’s Lady Wolverines ended the game on the run rule at 15-7. She also homered in the 13-1 win against Sallisaw.
“Hitting is all about focus,” Gann said. “If you get a good pitch, you can hit it because pitchers are going to bring something in slowpitch. Hitting those five home runs feels great. I think I’m finally coming around as I’m hitting the ball a lot harder and farther. I liked them all today.”
So did MHS coach Keith Coleman, who pleased with Gann’s selectivity at the plate.
“That’s something we preach over, over and over,” he said. “If a player swings at a good pitch, there’s a good chance she’ll get the barrel on the ball. And when she does that, good things will happen. Paige did a great job of swinging the bat.”
Gann wasn’t alone in the hit parade as the Roughers won three games to improve to 22-5.
Jessi Venable, the Lady Roughers’ third baseman, slugged a grand slam in the sixth inning to finish off the win against Sallisaw. She also had a two-run homer, a solo homer and a two-run double in the win against the Lady Wolverines. Epps also homered.
“Overall, we had a good day,” Coleman said. “We played on defense, ran the ball well. We hit with power and that’s something I thought we would do. Our first four batters (Shaylee Rowland, Epps, Venable and Gann) have as much power as any of the first four batters of any team in Oklahoma.
“I was also happy the bottom part of our lineup did a great job of getting on base for those at the top of lineup. That’s how you score and win games.”
Morgan Taylor picked up the pitching wins in all three games to improve her record to 22-5.
Vian lost its three games at the Slug-Out to slip to 12-6 for the season. It also lost 10-8 to Muldrow and 17-1 to Jenks.
Chelsie Drew’s home run was the only run against Jenks. Drew had two hits, drove in three runs and scored twice against Muldrow. Vian pitcher Jaden Bolin (12-6) took all three losses but drove in three runs and had two hits against Muldrow and hit two solo homers against Muskogee.
In the other games, Jenks topped Sallisaw 10-6 and nipped Muldrow 8-6 while Muldrow beat Sallisaw 15-1.
The tournament resumes at 10 a.m. today as the pool involving Sequoyah and unbeaten 6A No. 2 Tahlequah take to the diamond. Muskogee and Vian resume play Saturday as the tournament will conclude with the championship game that evening, matching the winners of both pools.