After the brief softball pre-season culminated last weekend with a varsity-alumni fundraiser game, the 2014 Pawhuska High School girls’ fastpitch regular campaign commenced Monday at Newkirk where the Lady Huskies dropped seven-run decisions to the host Lady Tigers and the Pawnee Lady Black Bears.
Coach Olivia Chronister’s PHS girls will return to the diamond Thursday night when they begin play in the Cushing Fall Classic. The Lady Huskies are scheduled for an 8:15 p.m. game against Agra at the tournament, which continues through Saturday.
The free-wheeling Pawhuska squad staged a late rally in the season opener before falling to Newkirk, 12-5. Game two featured an early pitching duel that took a late turn in favor of Pawnee, 7-0.
Sydney Sellers collected two of the Lady Huskies’ seven hits in the opener. The sophomore slugger singled in the fourth inning and smashed a bases-loaded triple in the fifth — when PHS tallied four of its five runs. An RBI single by junior Sarah Phillippi preceded Sellers’ three-run triple to right field.
Newkirk never trailed after scoring three runs in the second. A run in the top of the third helped Pawhuska close the deficit to 3-1. PHS senior Tanaya Thomas was hit by a pitch, went to second on a sacrifice and eventually scored on bad throw. The Lady Tigers answered with three runs in the home half of the third and increased the lead to 11-1 by scoring five times in the fourth.
Pawhuska’s big fifth inning started with a bunt single by Kyleigh Ruible. Thomas also singled and was replaced by courtesy runner — but both early runner were thrown out attempting to steal. Breanna RedEagle got things going again with a single. Darienne Fryeand Keylee Kirk were both hit by pitches, loading the bases for Phillippi, who lined a single to right, scoring RedEagle. Sellers’ triple, which came off a 1-2 pitch with two out, brought in Frye, Kirk and Phillippi — making the score 11-5. Ashley Henley started at pitcher for PHS and went 2 1/3 innings, giving up six hits. Thomas pitched the last 1 2/3 innings and yielded eight hits.
Pawnee scratched out a pair of runs in the third and another in the fourth before breaking things open by plating four runs in the top of the seventh. The Lady Black Bears failed to score in the top of the first despite rapping out three singles and a double, as all three outs resulted from base-running mistakes. After a leadoff single off Henley, the Pawnee runner stole second but was caught attempting advancement to third as Pawhuska catcher Star Sweeden threw to Sydney Sellers. A double and two singles followed, but the front baserunner was out trying to steal home and the trailing runner was gunned down by Sellers to shortstop Kirk covering third.
Two more Black Bear runners reached base in the second, but a strikeout and pop out kept them off the board. PHS went quietly in the first two innings, putting only one on base. In the third, Pawnee picked up two runs with a bases-loaded double following a leadoff double, a one-out single and a walk. Pawhuska leftfielder Logan Ratzlaff got the second out on a throw to third baseman Sellers. The first hit for the Lady Huskies came with a two-out single by Darienne Frye in the home half of the third.
A double started the fourth and led to another Pawnee run, making it 3-0. The Lady Huskies went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth and the Lady Bears followed suit to open the fifth. Thomas and Ratzlaff opened the home fifth with back-to-back singles, but one runner was thrown out trying to advance and two groundouts ended the threat. Pawnee failed to score in sixth after three walks filled the bases. Center fielder Phillippi caught a liner for third out and rapped a two-out single later in the sixth.
Pawnee’s seventh started with two singles and was followed by a one-out RBI single. Another single and a walk loaded bases and two steals of home completed the scoring. Thomas went in to pitch for the Lady Huskies and ended the inning with a strikeout. Pawhuska was then retired in order during an eight-pitch final turn at bat that included a pop out, a fly out and a ground out.
Lady Huskie hits came from Frye, Phillippi, Ratzliff and Thomas. Pawhuska left three runners on base. Breanna RedEagle pitched 6 2/3 innings in relief of Pawhuska starting pitcher Ashley Henley, who left the game after facing one batter in the first. RedEagle gave up seven earned runs on a dozen hits, walked five and struck out three, while hitting one batter.
The Lady Bears collected 13 hits and stole a dozen bases in the course of the game. Pawnee senior Hannah Burkett pitched the four-hit shutout, striking out seven batters, walked none and hitting one (Phillippi) with a pitch. In Monday’s final game, the Lady Bears posted a 7-5 triumph over the Lady Tigers.