Pawhuska softball erratic in 2-7 start

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Pawhuska High School’s Lady Huskies proved to be their own worst enemies at last week’s Cushing Invitational Softball Tournament.

“We’re struggling a little bit, especially with errors,” PHS coach Brian Edwards said. “The first couple of weeks of the season can be brutal because we’re playing a lot of games.”

The Lady Huskies recorded their lone tourney triumph in decisive fashion, 16-3, over the Luther Lady Lions. That victory — featuring a 15-hit attack highlighted by senior Mary Jo Upchurch’s two-run homer — came early Saturday afternoon and put Pawhuska’s 2016 record at 2-5.

“I was glad we had finally started hitting the ball well again,” said Edwards. “Then, we turned around in the very next game and could only get four hits.”

PHS finished up by dropping a 6-2 decision to the Newkirk Lady Tigers — the same team the locals had defeated, 6-1, in their season-opening road split Aug. 8.

Monday, Aug. 15, the Lady Huskies lost their home debut to the Pawnee Lady Bears, 4-2, and fell to 2-7 for the year.

“The good thing is, we’ve still got a lot of games to go,” Edwards said. “I can see that these girls are improving every day, so I really think we’ll be OK by the time our district tournament rolls around.”

During their Saturday win, the Lady Huskies scored nine runs in the second inning and added five more in the fourth. PHS freshman Tatayna Curry had three hits (including two doubles), two RBI and scored three times. Upchurch picked up two hits (including the inside-the-parker to left), while scoring twice and driving in three runs.

Freshman Alyssa Reynolds and sophomore Kiki Taylor belted doubles, while junior Kyleigh Riebel knocked in a pair of runs. Curry, Reynolds and junior Jordan Kitchel also stole two bases apiece. In addition to all the Pawhuska runners who scored, 10 others were left on base in the contest. (The Lady Lions only stranded one.)

Ashley Henley — who currently is shouldering the Lady Huskies’ entire pitching load — scattered six hits, struck out two and hit a batter against Luther.

Stroud 3, Pawhuska 2

“It was a game we definitely should have won,” Edwards said of the tourney-opening defeat. “And, if we had, it could have made everything else different.”

PHS scored twice in the first as Curry led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on wild pitch before Riebel walked. Curry scored on a wild pitch which moved Riebel up to third. A sacrifice fly by Upchurch made it 2-0. Stroud scored once in the third, tied the game in the fourth.

Henley gave up seven hits in 6 2/3 innings while only allowing one earned run. She had no strikeouts, walked five and was within one out of sending the contest into extra innings.

Kitchel delivered three hits for the Lady Huskies, scored once and knocked in a run. Sierra Sellers had a double and two RBI while also scoring a run.

Ponca City 8, Pawhuska 0

Oolagah 10, Pawhuska 0

The Lady Huskies stranded five base runners against Ponca while the Lady Wildcats left seven aboard. Hits came from Curry, Sydney Sellers, Taylor, Kitchel and Reynolds. Freshmen Curry and Reynolds stole bases.

Henley gave up seven hits and walked two, but only one of Ponca’s eight runs was earned. The Lady Wildcats scored seven in the top of the first off two errors, two doubles, two walks, two more errors and an RBI single. Oologah notched a run in the first, three in the third and six in the fourth. Henley yielded six hits and six earned runs while walking five and hitting a batter. She also recorded a strikeout.

Pawnee 4, Pawhuska 2

In Monday’s home loss to Pawnee, the Lady Huskies outhit the Bears, six to five. Pawhuska also committed six errors compared to Pawnee’s five. The visitors scored twice in the first and two more in the third. PHS had single tallies in the third and the sixth, Taylor and Upchurch both doubled. RBI came from Taylor and Sierra Sellers. The home team stranded nine base runners, while Pawnee left two aboard.

Henley allowed just five hits and no earned runs while striking out three, walking one and hitting one. Pawnee’s VanDerenler gave up six hits, struck out eight, walked three and hit one.

The Lady Huskies are to play at the Barnsdall Tournament this Thursday and Saturday. In between, the Lady Huskies will participate in the Kellyville Softball Festival on Friday.