Lady Huskies get on roll, tripling season win total
Obviously, the Pawhuska Lady Huskies were not satisfied with doubling their season victory total last Friday at the Dewey High School Softball Tournament.
After scoring six runs in the last inning to claim a second-round triumph over the Chelsea Lady Dragons, the Pawhuska girls kept up the bats heated up Friday evening during a 15-2 annihilation that advanced them to the tourney’s consolation finals game, where they made an unsuccessful bid for a third win in a row.
The resurgent local fast-pitch juggernaut resumed its newfound momentum Monday in a home contest with Tonkawa. Coach Olivia Chronister’s Pawhuska squad locked up in a scoreless struggle with the Lady Buccaneers before exploding for another six-run special in the bottom of the third inning.
Behind the three-hit pitching of Haley Malaske, the Lady Huskies rolled to their fourth victory of the season (and third triumph in four tries) with a 9-0 whitewash of the Bucs.
PHS sophomore Sarah Phillippi scored twice and finished 3-for-3 at the plate as she collected singles in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Three Pawhuska batters — senior Jordyn Wahpekeche, sophomore Breanna Redeagle and freshman Sydney Sellers — knocked in two runs apiece.
Malaske opened the contest by striking out all three Bucs she faced in the first. The senior standout wound up with nine whiffs, while walking two and hitting one batter (the opposing pitcher, who had earlier hit Malaske). Tonkawa left runners at the corners in the second. Pawhuska squandered an opportunity in the lower half of the frame when it put the first two batters aboard (one hit by a pitch and the second on a walk) only to have one picked off and the other caught stealing.
For the second straight inning, Malaske mowed down two more Bucs in the third. (She also had a pair of K’s in the fourth.) The home half of the inning saw the Lady Huskie offense step forward.
Freshman Mary Jo Upchurch started the six-run stanza by lining a single to center. Phillippi followed with a hit into left and Malaske walked to load the bases. Wahpekeche singled home the first run for Pawhuska and sophomore Keylee Kirk was hit by a pitch to force across the second. A two-run single by Sellers increased the lead to four and Redeagle made it 6-0 with a two-out single to right.
Malaske recorded two more strikeouts in the fourth. She also returned an earlier favor by plunking the Tonkawa hurler with a pitch. PHS made the score 7-0 in the bottom of the inning when Wahpekche doubled across Phillippi, who had led off with a single. In the fifth, Pawhuska put the game on ice by scoring twice off a walk to sophomore Logan Ratzlaff, an error and singles by Redeagle and Phillippi.
(NOTE: If the Monday softball score were combined with the final of last Friday night’s football game — Buccaneers 15, Huskies 6 — it would be Pawhuska 15-Tonkawa 15. Maybe we should have some kind of playoff…a co-ed international tiebreaker, perhaps? Please continue.)
Huskies 12, Dragons 7
In the second-round matchup at the Dewey tourney, PHS saw an early lead vanish when Chelsea scored five runs in the bottom of the third. But the Lady Huskies battled back to tie the Dragons, 6-6, after four innings.
“I was proud of the girls for not getting down when we fell behind,” Pawhuska head coach Olivia Chronister said. “They earned themselves an opportunity to win — then they went out and did it.”
Since the four innings already had exceeded the tourney time limit, international tiebreaker rules were used to determine a winner. Under that method, Pawhuska started the fifth inning with senior Alexis Martin as a baserunner at second.
Leadoff batter Ratzlaff worked the pitch count full before drawing a walk, during which time Martin advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a steal of second by Ratzlaff, freshman Mary Jo Upchurch knocked in Martin with a sacrifice fly driven deep to right field.
Another freshman, Jenna Shulanberger, smacked an rbi single to stretch the Lady Huskie lead. And, it continued to grow when Shulanberger stole her way to third and scored on a sharply-stroked, two-out double by Malaske.
After Wahpekeche singled home Malaske, sophomore Keylee Kirk blasted a run-producing double off the base of the left field wall. Freshman sensations continued to shine for PHS as Sydney Sellers collected the third Pawhuska double of the inning to send Kirk plateward.
Malaske nailed down the pitching victory by scattering six hits, while recording three strikeouts and walking one batter. The senior righthander hit safely three times. She also survived shoulder discomfort and seven Lady Huskie errors — including three during Chelsea’s last turn at bat. Catcher Wahpekeche chased down a popup in front of the plate for the final out.
At the end of the first inning, Pawhuska had held a 2-1 lead following singles by Malaske, Ratzlaff and Martin — who got the runs batted in. Bunt singles by Kirk and Sellers led to a lone Lady Huskie tally in the top of the third. During the bottom half of the inning, the Lady Dragons were able to plate five runs and take a 6-3 lead thanks to four hits and a pair of PHS errors.
A single to center by sophomore Sarah Phillippi sparked a three-run, game-tying rally in the fourth for Pawhuska. Kirk, who reached base three times, evened the score with a daring delayed steal of home.
As the Lady Huskie defense headed back out on the field, Chronister called them together for some short — and not-so-sweet — instructions.
“You will be tough out there,” the PHS coach instructed. “If you have to dive to block a ball, you will do it.”
Three consecutive outs followed (on a fly to Shulanberger in right, a liner to the pitcher and a grounder to short). That resulted in the decisive final-frame tiebreaker that sent the Lady Huskies to their second triumph of the season.
Huskies 15, Cougars 2
The third Pawhuska win of 2013 came just a few hours later in three-inning, run-rule fashion over the junior varsity squad from Oklahoma Union.
After falling behind the Cougars’ jayvee, 1-0, on a hit and an error, the Lady Huskies were held scoreless in their initial inning at bat. They took control of the game in the second inning, however, exploding for eight runs.
PHS starting pitcher Breanna Redeagle helped her own cause by starting the go-ahead rally with a single and scoring the tying run on an error. Later in the inning, the sophomore also delivered an rbi single that put the Lady Huskies ahead, 6-1.
The three hits collected by Redeagle in the contest were the same number given up to the Cougars by the PHS righthander, who stuck out two and walked none.
Kirk lined a 3-run, inside-the-park homer in the third inning to highlight Pawhuska’s attack. The clinching rally started with a Shulanberger single, which included rbi doubles by Phillippi and Sellers as well as run-producing singles from Redeagle and Upchurch.
PHS loses pair
Pawhuska jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead versus Barnsdall in Saturday’s consolation finals at Barnsdall.
A single by sophomore Logan Ratzlaff scored seniors Haley Malaske and Jordyn Wahpekeche, who had walked before a dropped third strike extended the first inning of the Lady Huskies. But, the Panthers went up on a three-run home run by Courtney Swift and pitcher Mariah Hatfield never relinquished the lead en route to a 6-3 decision.
Barnsdall scored again in the second off Brandi Gay’s single and a two-out error. Gay and Babb both singled in the fourth when the Panthers added two more runs to make it 6-1. Shulanberger reached base on an infield single and came around on a line-drive double by Malaske to wrap up the scoring.
Pawhuska suffered a 14-2 setback to the Class 4A Cleveland Tigers in its Friday opener at Dewey. Cleveland went on to a second-place tourney finish behind the host Lady BullDoggers.
The Lady Tigers, who had just completed a lopsided victory in the previous game, scored nine runs in the top of the first inning versus PHS. Six players had two hits in the game for the young, rapidly improving Cleveland squad, which finished with 14 safeties. The lone senior on the roster, Carlie McGrew, blasted a second-inning home run as one of her two hits.
A game-highlight for Pawhuska came in the final inning when the three senior starters of the Lady Huskies turned a slick second-to-home-to-first double play. With the bases loaded and one out, Malaske fielded an infield grounder and threw to Wahpekeche for the force out at the plate. The PHS catcher then turned the pivot to first basemen Alexis Martin and recorded out No. 3.
The Lady Huskies also lost to Caney Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Ramona when the Lady Trojans avenged a 14-4 defeat two weeks earlier in Pawhuska.
Caney Valley took a one-run advantage in the first inning on double, a single and a passed ball. PHS tied the game in the second, with Ratzlaff scoring the lone run for the Lady Huskies. The Lady Trojans regained their one-run lead in the second and scored five times in an error-plagued third.
Pawhuska managed only three hits, singles by Phillippi and Ratzlaff and a triple by Malaske. Pitcher Braden Hale picked up the Caney Valley pitching victory.
(A rematch with the Cleveland Lady Tigers was set for Tuesday in Pawhuska. The Lady Huskies (4-16) are then scheduled to participate in the Sperry Tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday. Next Tuesday, PHS gets another shot against the Lady Panthers in a 4 p.m. contest at Barnsdall. Home games with Newkirk and Perry are slated Thursday and Friday, Sept. 26-27.)