Lady Huskies end skid with 4 straight wins

Mike Erwin
Pawhuska catcher Alyssa Reynolds puts a Caney Valley player out at home during the Lady Huskies' Thursday victory at the Barnsdall Softball Tournament. The PHS defense cut two Lady Trojans down at the plate in the top of the first inning of the 6-5 triumph, which was the first of the four straight wins for the Lady Huskies.

Pawhuska Lady Huskies’ coach Brian Edwards had a premonition prior to the start of the Barnsdall Tournament.

“At this time last season, we’d already won six or seven games and everything was looking pretty good until we started getting off track in this tournament,” the PHS head coach said. “This year, maybe we can reverse that and go on a positive roll.”

Although the Lady Huskies dropped their first two games in the tourney (falling to 2-8 for the two-week-old campaign), Edwards and veteran PHS assistant coach Danny Chronister remained positive.

“We are right there,” Chronister said. “All we’ve got to do is quit beating ourselves.”

In their opener, the Lady Huskies lost, 8-5, to the Owasso Lady Rams. Pawhuska squandered an early two-run lead and then rallied back from a three down to tie the score — only to give the game away by committing six errors.

Owasso won its next three games at the tourney — 13-0 versus Caney Valley, 15-1 against Oklahoma Union and 4-1 over Barnsdall in the Saturday finals.

PHS went on to drop a 5-2 decision to OK Union before grinding out a 6-5 victory over Caney Valley in its third Thursday contest.

While teams from the tourney’s other bracket battled it out Friday, the Lady Huskies went back on the road to sweep a pair of matchups at the Kellyville Softball Festival— beating Haskell, 4-3, and Tulsa Edison, 10-5, despite limited services from their primary pitcher, Ashley Henley.

“Ashley already had a sore leg (due to a strained quadricep),” Edwards explained. “Then, in our first game Friday (against Haskell), she got hit on the knee with a line drive.”

With Haskell leading, 3-2, Edwards called on senior outfielder Darienne Frye to replace Henley — who had thrown every pitch of Pawhuska’s first 12 contests.

“D(arienne) hadn’t pitched since junior high, but she managed to throw strikes and the girls played good defense behind her,” the coach said. “And, we scored twice in the last inning to be beat them, 4-3.”

Frye remained in the Lady Huskies’ pitching circle until part way through the final inning of their second game at Kellyville — a 10-5 victory versus Tulsa Edison.

Saturday, the Pawhuska girls fulfilled Edwards’ pre-tournament prophecy. With Henley pitching, the Lady Huskies played error-free en route to a 6-2 triumph over Lincoln Christian which earned them third place in the Barnsdall event. Third baseman Alyssa Reynolds started double plays in the first and second innings to help keep the game even at two runs apiece.

PHS sophomore Kianna Taylor scored on a Lady Bulldog error in the top of the sixth, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Lady Huskies to their sixth season win. Taylor started the inning with a bloop single and moved to second by a sacrifice by Jordan Kitchel. Following the two-out error and a walk, freshman Tatayna Curry lined a two-run triple to center and then scored on senior Kyleigh Riebel’s bunt single.

Henley nailed down Pawhuska’s third-place honors by holding Lincoln Christian scoreless in the sixth and seventh. After allowing two runs in the first, she threw six shutout consecutive shutout innings. Riebel circled the bases on a bunt for the first Lady Huskie run. Frye scored the second off a Curry groundout to tie the game.

Leading the Lady Huskie batters, thus far, has been Curry. The talented freshman is hitting at a .512 clip, with five doubles and two triples. Curry has driven in nine runs and scored a team-high 13 times.

Riebel is batting .325 and has scored 10 runs, while knocking in six. Sierra Sellers holds a .306 average and is the team-leader in runs batted in — with 10. Taylor and senior Mary Joe Upchurch have each scored seven runs, while freshman Reynolds has crossed the plate six times. Kitchel, a junior, has five RBI and four runs scored, and Frye has scored five times.

In Friday’s hard-fought win against Haskell, PHS trailed, 3-2, with time running out in the bottom of the fifth. A single by Sierra Sellers led off the inning for the Lady Huskies, who loaded the bases with a walk to Curry and a Riebel bunt single. With two out, senior Sydney Sellers singled home her sister to tie the score and Curry scored the game-winner after an errant throw by the Lady Haymakers’ catcher. Earlier, Upchurch had tied the contest with an RBI double.

Curry and Riebel went 2-for-2 at the plate and sparked four-run innings in the first and second for the Lady Huskies against Edison. Five PHS batters were hit by pitches. (Kitchel was plunked twice.)

Thursday’s tourney opener against Owasso saw the Lady Huskies jump out to a two-run lead in the first on a Curry leadoff triple, a RBI sacrifice by Riebel and a single by Upchurch — who advanced on an error and scored on a balk. The Lady Rams took a 3-2 lead in the second and made it 5-2 in the third before the locals battled back to tie the score. Consecutive singles by Curry, Riebel and Upchurch spawned a two-run third for PHS and Reynolds singled and scored the tying run n the fourth. Riebel, Upchurch and Reynolds all stole bases for PHS.

Henley struck out six, walked none, hit a batter and gave up three hits and three earned runs versus Oklahoma Union. One of those hits was a two-out, two-run home run in the first by Cougars’ pitcher, Lanning. Pawhuska outhit their opponents, four to three, with Curry getting two safeties and Taylor and Kitchel adding one apiece. The Lady Huskies also out-erred their foes, five to three.

Henley scattered eight hits, struck out six and walked two, while giving up just two earned runs in Thursday’s 6-5 decision over Caney Valley. The Lady Trojans’ Morgan Welch pitched four-hitter, gave up two earned runs and walked three batters (two of whom scored).

Sierra Sellers went 2-for-2 with an RBI and scored twice. She started the winning rally by dropping down a bunt single with one out in the fourth. next up, Reynolds bunted and went to third on a throwing error, then scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a Welch wild pitch.

PHS (6-9) was playing early this week at Mannford and Barnsdall. The Lady Huskies are to host the Hominy Lady Bucks on Thursday.