Tahlequah shortstop Randee O’Donnell releases the throw to first base after turning the front end of a double play Thursday afternoon against the Dale Pirates in the Festival of Champions at Rougherettes Park.

Coach Matt Cloud purposely made this season’s schedule tougher for his Tahlequah High School slowpitch softball team.

It continues be beneficial for the Lady Tigers as they defeated Arapaho 12-1 and defending Class 4A state champion Dale 13-10 in their two games Thursday in the Hamlin's and TTCU Festival of Champions at Muskogee High School.

Cloud’s team, No. 3 in the Okrankings.com Class 6A poll, extended their winning streak to eight games and improved to 23-2 for the season.

“To be honest, I didn’t think we would be 23-2 at this point because we only have the one senior (Britney Johnson),” he said. “We’ve been beaten in the first round of the state tournament the last two years and by design, we made a tougher schedule. We’re 10-2 now against top 5 teams.”

Ranked No. 1 in 4A, Dale gave Tahlequah fits. It was the most runs the Lady Tigers have given up this season.

Tahlequah took an 11-10 lead in the fifth inning when Erin Dillard scored. Bub Peters and Caitlin Chuculate scored in the seventh. Erin Dillard (23-2) was the winning pitcher.

Chuculate had four hits, while Peters and Randee O’Donnell each had three hits. The Lady Tigers had 20 hits in the game.

“We don’t hit a lot of home runs. We can single people to death and get a double every now and then,” Cloud said.

Dale (19-5) got homers from Danielle Dockery, Kensi Stith and Jailen Flewellen.

The Lady Tigers didn’t need any long balls in the 12-1 four-inning victory against 2A No. 7 Arapaho. They had 15 hits with Laney Wallace getting three.

Kortney Dry, Marissa Girdner, Kirsten Chase, Peters and Johnson each had two. Peters drove in three runs and Girdner had two RBIs.

In other games, Class B No. 1 Red Oak beat Arapaho 15-5 and 3A No. 1 Rattan 9-7, while 6A No. 6 Union beat Rattan 16-15 and Dale 10-5.

Today’s games have been shifted from an original schedule:

Poteau vs. Southmoore, noon; Muskogee vs. Southmoore, 1:30 p.m.; Poteau vs. Moore, 3 p.m.; Jenks vs. Moore, 3 p.m.; Muskogee vs. Norman, 6 p.m.; Jenks vs. Norman, 7:30 p.m.

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