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Valuable diamond experience gained by 2013 Lady Huskies

Mary Jo Upchurch, the freshman second baseman of the Pawhuska High School softball team, stretches to make a putout at first base in a Tuesday game against the Newkirk Tigers. The Lady Huskies season concluded Thursday with a Class 3A district loss at Perkins. Upchurch was one of four ninth graders to start in the final series. JACK BUZBEE/JOURNAL-CAPITAL
Mary Jo Upchurch, the freshman second baseman of the Pawhuska High School softball team, stretches to make a putout at first base in a Tuesday game against the Newkirk Tigers. The Lady Huskies season concluded Thursday with a Class 3A district loss at Perkins. Upchurch was one of four ninth graders to start in the final series. JACK BUZBEE/JOURNAL-CAPITAL
Pawhuska Lady Huskie senior Alexis Martin slides head-first into second base during last week’s regular-season softball finale versus the Hominy Lady Bucks. Earlier this week, Martin was named as a Northeastern Oklahoma Conference All-Star and fellow senior Haley Malaske earned All-Conference honors. JACK BUZBEE/JOURNAL-CAPITAL
Pawhuska Lady Huskie senior Alexis Martin slides head-first into second base during last week’s regular-season softball finale versus the Hominy Lady Bucks. Earlier this week, Martin was named as a Northeastern Oklahoma Conference All-Star and fellow senior Haley Malaske earned All-Conference honors. JACK BUZBEE/JOURNAL-CAPITAL

Pawhuska High School senior Haley Malaske was selected to the all-Northeastern Oklahoma Conference softball team and three other Lady Huskies earned NOC all-star honors honors, according to PHS coach Olivia Chronister.

Malaske played every position on the field during her four years as a varsity starter at Pawhuska. For the past two seasons, she served as the primary pitcher for the Lady Huskies — a role she inherited from her older sister, Tara. According to Chronister, Malaske was named to the NOC All-Conference Team as a second baseman.

Another PHS senior, first baseman Alexis Martin, was chosen (along with Malaske) to participate in the conference All-Star Game. A pair of Lady Huskie sophomores — shortstop Keylee Kirk and outfielder Sarah Phillippi — also were designated for Northeastern Conference all-star honors.

This is the third consecutive year that Malaske has been an all-conference selection. Kirk earned the honor for a second consecutive season.

The NOC All-Star clash will begin at 6 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 7, at Blackwell. Prior to the contest, there will be a formal presentation of conference honors and awards.

Swept at Perkins

Last Thursday, senior righthander McKelty Shelton pitched the Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons to the two-game sweep of the Lady Huskies by posting 9-2 and 10-3 victories in their Class 3A-District 13 softball series at Perkins.

The PHS squad scored a pair of runs in the last inning of both contests to give Lady Huskie fans a late cause for optimism. And, there is an even brighter outlook for the future of the local squad.

“We’re very young,” said the Pawhuska head coach, whose team collected 11 hits for the series — which was the same number that Perkins got in each game. “But, our players picked up valuable experience that will help us next year.”

Four freshmen and five sophomores were among the district starters for the Lady Huskies, who finished the season with a 6-28 record. Two seniors in the lineup, Haley Malaske and Alexis Martin, wrapped up their softball careers at PHS in typical fashion — with strong, team-oriented showings.

Malaske started for four straight years at Pawhuska and spent most of that time as the leadoff batter. She eventually played every infield and outfield position and was the top pitcher on this year’s squad.

Following the recent loss of PHS senior catcher Jordyn Wahpekeche, Malaske was put behind the plate to begin Thursday’s series. She pitched the last half of the first game and all of the second, with regular first baseman Martin moving to the catcher’s spot.

“Both of the seniors were willing to do whatever was needed for the team,” Chronister said. “I was impressed.”

In the final game, Malaske had three hits (a double and two singles) before drawing a two-out walk on her fourth at-bat. She then scored the second run for the Lady Huskies — the “gazillionth” in her career, the coach said — on an inside-the-park home run by standout sophomore Keylee Kirk.

Diamond notes: With the triumph, Perkins advanced to a Class 3A Regional Tournament at Perry where the Lady Demons were to meet No. 3-ranked Washington (17-8) on Thursday. The regional opener pitted Perry against 3A’s No. 10 team, Alva (23-6).

Tahlequah Sequoyah in the state’s top-rated 3A squad, according to the new ranking system provided by the Oklahoma Secondary School’s Association. Area teams on the list include Adair at No. 12 and No. 15 Verdigris.

In the final game of the PHS regular season on Tuesday, Sept. 24, the visitors from Hominy took over the lead in the fifth inning and held on for an 11-7 victory. The Lady Huskies lost the opening home contest that day to Newkirk by an identical score.

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