District softball showdown at Chouteau for PHS squad

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
District softball showdown at Chouteau for PHS squad

One year after galloping past ranked Kellyville in a 3A district championship series, the Pawhuska Lady Huskies will attempt to repeat the the postseason feat Thursday in a Class 2A fast-pitch softball showdown at Chouteau.

The No. 15 Lady Wildcats are to bring an 18-9 mark into the home contest. Chouteau’s regular-season campaign included losses to the Hominy Lady Bucks (a team the PHS girls managed to defeat twice) and Dewey’s Lady Doggers — who escaped the Lady Huskies with a narrow, 4-1, decision.

Pawhuska will enter the district battle following a 13-16 campaign that included an 8-3 start followed by a stretch in which the Lady Huskies dropped 10 games out of 12. The Lady Huskies wrapped up their regular Monday by out-slugging host Pawnee, 11-8, after getting blitzed, 10-0, in a mismatch against their three-way opponent, Class 4A’s Cushing Lady Tigers.

In the victory over the Lady Black Bears, Pawhuska built a five-run advantage in the top of the first inning behind two-run singles by sophomore Ashley Henley and senior Sarah Phillippi. Phillippi finished the game with three hits and four RBI. The Lady Huskies got another run in the third on a hit by senior Brittney Summers and went up by nine in the fourth on Mary Jo Upchurch’s triple and Phillippi’s second two-RBI single. Pawnee narrowed its deficit by scoring five times in the fourth and adding a sixth run in the sixth. Kyleigh Riebel led off with a single and scored Pawhuska’s final in the top of the seventh. PHS pitcher Henley held on for the victory after the Bears scored two more in the seventh with the aid of three Lady Huskie errors.

The Pawhuskans wound up with 11 hits against Pawnee and committed a ghastly 10 errors. Throughout the season, the Lady Huskie have been plagues by an over-abundance of errors — which has been a sore spot for coach Brian Edwards. From the start of the current campaign (which is his first as coach of the PHS girls), Edwards has worked to improve the Lady Huskie defense.

The first pitch in Thursday’s opener of the best-of-three district showdown at Chouteau is scheduled for 1 p.m. Expected to start in the circle for Pawhuska is senior Breanna Redeagle, whose solid pitching triggered last year’s district sweep at Kellyville. A second contest should begin around 3 p.m. If the teams split Thursday’s games, a third-and-deciding meeting will be played — probably on Friday, definitely back at Chouteau.

Atop the Class 2A rankings as the postseason begins is Tushka (29-3), while Dale (23-5) is ranked second. The No. 3 team in 2A, is Drumright, which is 26-5 under former PHS baseball coach Blake Flewellen.

Class 3A ranking have Sperry (18-7) ranked No. 11. At Sperry last Thursday, the Lady Huskies dropped a 3-1 decision in which they outhit the Lady Pirates, eight to seven, but made five errors compared to none for the home team. Kellyville, the team Pawhuska defeated in last year’s district matchup, is 14-9 this year and ranked No. 19 in 3A. Perkins-Tryon, PHS’s district foe from two seasons ago, is 3A’s No. 16-ranked squad with a 19-7 mark. PHS has played 3A’s No. 7-ranked team, Morris (25-6), and just met Class 4A’s No. 16 Cushing squad (21-13) for the second time this year.

On Saturday, Pawhuska went to Tulsa to participate in the Lincoln Christian Festival. The Lady Huskies lost to the host squad, 6-1, despite outhitting the Lady Bulldogs — seven to three. PHS committed eight errors compared to none for Lincoln Christian. Pawhuska got two hits from sophomore Star Sweeden and one apiece for Riebel, Upchurch, Phillippi, Henley and junior Darienne Frye. Senior Keylee Kirk scored the lone run after she reached base on a dropped third strike with one out in the first, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Upchurch and scored on a wild pitch. The Lady Huskies left seven runners on base and LCS stranded 3. Redeagle pitched all six innings. She gave up just three hits, while walking none and striking out two. Only one of the six runs was earned. Her counterpart for the Lady Bulldogs, Fuls, likewise gave up one earned run while being touched for seven hits. She struck out seven, walked none but hit one.

The Lady Huskies fell to Wagoner, 11-2, after getting just four hits while making five errors. Henley and freshman Kiki Taylor doubled and drove in runs for PHS, while Kirk and Riebel had the team’s other hits.