Two days after a lackluster performance in a 3-2 extra-inning loss to Skiatook, the Claremore Lady Zebras played like ‘champions’ and dealt Tahlequah its first loss in Metro Lakes Conference play Thursday afternoon.
Behind Ally Johnson’s dominating performance in the circle, along with Stephanie Schivally’s 2-for-4 presence at the plate, the Lady Zebras rolled past Tahlequah, 6-2 at Lady Tigers Field.
Johnson, relying heavily on her change-up, never allowed Tahlequah’s aggressive offense to ignite. The four-year starting pitcher held Tahlequah to two runs through seven innings to pick up the win.
Claremore’s offense applied pressure early in the top of the first inning with Madison Bright drawing a lead-off walk and then scoring on Schivally’s triple to the left-field corner to take the 1-0 lead.
An inning later, Schivally’s RBI-single plated Bright to extend Claremore’s lead to 2-0. A single by Sarah Brown advanced Schivally to second base and Ally Johnson’s towering single off the left-center field wall allowed Schivally to score from second base to increase the lead to 3-0.
Tahlequah, however, cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the third inning.
Every time Tahlequah looked to rally, Claremore answered with error-free defense. Kenzie Johnson hustled to make a stunning catch in right field, and freshman third baseman Erica Spencer gunned down a Tahlequah runner with the 5-3 putout at third base to cap off the third inning.
Claremore generated its final three runs in the top of the sixth inning to secure the victory.
“This is the game we circled before the season, and it was our measuring-stick game,” Claremore coach Jim Sherl said. “This is probably the best team in (Class) 5A, and we just want to see how we measure up and how we do.”
Claremore improved to 18-6 overall and 9-2 in conference with the win over Tahlequah. The Lady Zebras return to action, hosting Grove at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Tahlequah at 5 p.m. on Thursday.