Pawhuska High School seniors Dariene Frye, Sydney Sellers and Mary Jo Upchurch have been teammates since their third-fourth grade season, so emotions flowed naturally last week following the final home softball game of the Lady Huskies’ 2016 Fall Season.
The PHS trio is not yet finished on the diamond. Thursday, the Lady Huskie fastpitch squad heads to Ramona for the Oklahoma District 2A-18 Tournament versus the Caney Valley Lady Trojans.
First game in the best-of-three series is scheduled for 4 p.m., with a second contest to follow. If a third game is needed, it would be played Friday afternoon or Saturday. Winner of the Pawhuska-Caney Valley district advances to a state regional round a week later.
Each of the seniors will be in the Pawhuska lineup and all are likely to play big roles for the squad. Frye is a speedy outfielder and solid hitter, Sellers a power-swinging catcher/thirdbaseman and Upchurch a versatile infielder and dependable batter, with occasional pop.
The Lady Huskies improved their regular-season record to 13-12 by winning three straight games on Day One of the Oklahoma Union Tournament. Thursday’s triple victory pushed PHS over the .500 mark for thr first time this year.
Prior to the sweep in South Coffeyville, Pawhuska head coach Brian Edwards had expressed optimism about his squad’s chances for postseason success.
“Hopefully, it all will click for us at the right time,” the second-year coach of the Lady Huskies said. “We’ve experienced some ups and downs, but I really do think these girls are going to be ready for the playoffs.”
In addition to the three seniors, Pawhuska’s regular starters include three juniors (outfielder Kyleigh Riebel, pitcher Ashley Henley and first baseman Sierra Sellers), sophomore infielder/outfielder Kiki Taylor and two freshmen — infielder/outfielder Tatyana Curry and thirdbaseman/catcher Alyssa Reynolds. Junior Jordan Kitchel is a spot starter/utility player. The PHS assistant coach is Danny Chronister.
Edwards said this should be a good district matchup for the Lady Huskies, who have had success against Caney Valley in the past. The teams split a pair of summer-league matchups and Pawhuska won, 6-5, when they played the Lady Trojans in last month’s Barnsdall Tournament.
Five Lady Huskie batters are hitting over .300. Curry tops the hit leaders with 35, and a .473 average. She’s got 35 hits and scored a team-high 27 runs. Henley is second in batting averagecat .359, followed by Riebel (.352), Alyssa Reynolds (.319) and Taylor (.301). Henley recently tied Sierra Sellers as the team RBI leader; both have driven in 20 runs.
Following are recaps of Pawhuska’s games at the Oklahoma Union Tournament. The Lady Huskies played the host OKU Lady Cougars in the championship late Saturday night. The 4-0 defeat evened Pawhuska’s record at 13 wins and 13 losses.
PHS 9, NOWATA 7
The Lady Huskies rallied for eight runs on their last at-bat and defeated the Nowata Lady Ironmen, 9-7, in their Thursday opener at South Coffeyville.
Nowata scored four in the top of the first inning and three more in the second. The Lady Iromen had 10 hits (twice as many as Pawhuska), including a pair of RBI doubles by Kristin Hawk. Riebel drew a one-out walk, went to third on a wild pickoff throw and stole home for a PHS run in the first.
Frye started the Lady Huskies’ pivotal inning with a single. After Curry walked, a bunt single by Riebel loaded the bases for Upchurch, who worked the count full before being hit by a pitch (which scored Frye and kept the basepaths filled). Sydney Sellers singled in the second run of the inning (Curry).
Following a popped-up first out, Henley lined a 1-2 pitch into left field to drive home Riebel and Upchurch — getting PHS within two, 7-5. A walk to Reynolds re-loaded the bases and brought up Sierra Sellers, who is the team leader in runs batted in. True to form, Sellers ripped a 2-RBI single to knock in her older sister, Sydney, and courtesy-runner A Young — tying the contest at 7-7.
Two were out when Curry re-filled the bases by getting hit with a pitch. Next up, Riebel also took another one for the team, which forced in Reynolds with the go-ahead run. Upchurch was then hit by a pitch for the second time in the inning (both times with the bases full) to make it a two-run game, at 9-7.
Henley retired the Lady Ironmen 1-2-3 and two groundouts to short (Curry to Sierra S.) and a fly out to Riebel in center, to wrap up the victory. She struck out three batters, while walking one and hitting one.
HUSKIES 9, LIONS 2
Pawhuska recorded its second win of the afternoon over the South Coffeyville Lady Lions, 9-2.
The Lady Huskies had seven hits and made no errors, while Henley allowed South Coffeyville just two hits.
Riebel and Sydney Sellers got two hits apiece while Upchurch and Henley each knocked in a pair of runs. Pitcher Henley struck out five and walked two.
PHS took a two-run lead in the the second when Sydney Sellers started things with a double, moved to third on a single by Taylor and scored on a Henley groundout. Sierra Sellers’ two-out single plated Taylor.
The Lady Huskies made it 5-0 in the third. Curry walked and advanced to third on a double by Riebel. Both scored on a single by Upchurch, who stole third and came home on a passed ball.
Frye and Curry were hit by pitches to open the fourth. The Lady Lions then turned a bunt single by Riebel into a bases-clearing, three-run event.