SHAWNEE – Sometimes a rain delay can be good in softball. It certainly was for Sequoyah on Thursday night.
Up only 3-1 before the opportunity for a 30-minute reset, the top-ranked Indians poured it on Dewey over the final two innings, pulling away for a 7-1 win over the Bulldoggers in the Class 3A fastpitch quarterfinals at The Ball Fields at Firelake.
Eighth-ranked Dewey (20-16) lost three times this season to Sequoyah (42-2), which is seeking a second straight state title. The Indians extended their winning streak to 17 games while advancing to Friday’s semifinal against No. 4 Washington at 2:30 p.m., but that wasn’t a sure thing until after the rain delay.
“It seemed like we kind of picked it up after the break,” said pitcher Madi Joice, who had six strikeouts. “I think it was a way for us to reset ourselves and just go ahead. We told ourselves that we could still do it. … I think it just made us focus back up, knowing that we were going to have to come back out here and finish this game.”
Smalls Goudeau walked and Shy Stopp singled in the second inning for the Indians, and both scored on an error to give Sequoyah a 2-0 lead and Joice reached base and scored in the third, making it 3-0.
Dewey’s Ali Ramos tripled and scored as the rain began coming down hard in the bottom of the fifth inning, leading to the delay. Sequoyah’s players hung out in their dugout for a few minutes before moving to their bus.
“We kept talking about getting some breathing room,” Sequoyah coach Jeff Turtle said. “A run here, a run there, and they scored the run there before the rain delay and it was 3-1. It was tight. But (we’ve) been here, (we’ve) done it. Madi found her rhythm a little bit after about two or three innings and pitched a good game. Then we finally adjusted a little bit and got some breathing room.”
Out of the break, the Indians made it 4-1 in the top of the sixth. Reagan Smith walked and stole second base, then took third on a groundout by Stopp. With two outs, Baylee Davis stroked a single to score Smith.
After Joice retired the Bulldoggers in order in the bottom of the sixth, Sequoyah’s offense sizzled in the seventh against Dewey pitcher Briley Davis, adding three more runs. Ryleigh Clinton had the big blow, a two-run double off the left-field wall that scored Lana Gass and Carsen McCoy, who was pinch-running for Joice. Goudeau reached on an error and drove home pinch-runner Reagan Smith in the process, making it 7-1.
“That was the team that you wanted to see from the start,” Turtle said. “That’s what we’ve been doing most of the year.”
Joice surrendered a leadoff double to Briley Davis in the bottom of the seventh, but settled down to strike out Ramos and Elaina Heath to end the game. Joice, who has orally committed to Mercer, is 25-0 and now has 130 strikeouts in 128 innings.
“I have a lot of faith in my fielders,” Joice said. “I know that they’re going to help me whenever I mess up. I have a lot of faith in my bats. I know that at some point during the game, they’re going to pick them up and we’re going to pick them up. It’s just going to happen.”