LARRY LARKIN

Progress Correspondent



The Claremore Lady Zebras are headed to the Class 5A fastpitch softball state tournament this week. They are scheduled to face No. 1 ranked Midwest City Albert at noon Thursday at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Before turning all thoughts to the three days of championship play, let us take another look at last week's regional tournament results from Catoosa. What the Lady Zebras pulled off is well worth a second glance.

The first round saw Claremore defeat McAlester, 2-1. By winning, Claremore then turned around and faced the host club. The Lady Zebras scored two runs in the bottom of the final inning to upset the No. 5 ranked Catoosa, 3-2. Had the Lady Indians won, they would have advanced straight to the second day championship contest.

Because the Catoosa regional had only three teams instead of four (Oklahoma City Marshall quit playing earlier in the season), the host team needed only to win twice to earn a state tournament bid.

On the other hand, had Claremore lost to Catoosa Thursday, coach Tony Winefield's squad would have been forced to play three games the first day. They would have played McAlester a second time, with the victor then needing two more wins against Catoosa on Thursday to move on.

Did the Lady Indians, 24-12 for the regular season, hold an unfair advantage over Claremore, 21-18, and McAlester, 14-16, going into the regional?

Yes.

Was it Catoosa's fault?

No.

Blame the lopsided scheduling on the team that didn't show up.

As things turned out, Claremore won the vital first game with Catoosa, 3-2. On Friday, Catoosa pulled even with a 1-0 shutout and forced a winner-take-all third contest.

As they did the night before, Claremore won, 2-1, by scoring the winning run in the last inning.

The rule of thumb in baseball and softball is pitching and defense. Winning teams need both. Still yet, no team is going to win if it fails to score runs.

Here's a breakdown review of Claremore's regional results.



PITCHING

Erin Glover — pitched in first three games, getting a save, a win, and a defeat. She allowed 3 unearned runs and 3 hits in 15 innings. She struck out 8, walked 3, and allowed 10 batters to reach base (3 on fielding errors).

Keeli Garroutte — pitched in one game (championship). She struck out 12, walked 0, allowed 1 unearned run, 3 base hits in seven innings. Five batters reached base, two on errors.

Brittany Scott — pitched in one game and allowed 1 earned run, 4 base hits, struck out 5, walked 2, and 6 batters reach base in 5 innings.

Grade — A-plus



DEFENSE

D.J. Simpson, shortstop — Threw out 14 runners at first base and had 3 unassisted outs. Made 1 fielding error.

Bailey Winters, second base — Threw out 8 runners at first and had 1 unassisted putout. Made 1 fielding error.

Keeli Garroutte (3 games) and Allison Pogue (1 game), third base — Combined, threw out 4 runners at first. Made 1 fielding error.

Whitney Hocutt, first base — Recorded 34 outs on infield throws and made 2 unassisted putouts. Made 1 fielding error.

The three pitchers — Threw out eight runners at first and had 1 unassisted pop up.

Brittany Tull, CF — Caught 7 fly balls (almost threw out 2 runners at first base).

Abby Kross-Vincent, Pogue, Scott, RF — Combined, made 4 fly ball outs. Made 1 throwing error.

Jordan Ford, LF — Caught 1 fly ball.

Tiffany Chanley, C — Threw out runners at first and second bases and allowed no passed balls resulting in runs scored.

Grade — A



HITTING

As a team, the Lady Zebras batted .245 while scoring 7 runs on 27 hits (24 singles, 3 doubles. Left 29 runners on base. Struck out 10 times and drew 5 walks. Nine batters reached due to errors. Out-scored opponents, 7-5. Left bases loaded once without scoring. Four times left 2 runners stranded without scoring.

GRADE — D



SCORING

Ford knocked in 4 runs and Simpon knocked in 2. Winters scored 4 runs (1 on passed ball), Tull scored 2, and Simpson 1. All of the runs and RBIs came from the top of the Zebra batting order: Winters, Tull, Simpson, Ford.

Grade — C-plus



SCORING RUNS TO WIN

Scored 2 early runs against McAlester. Scored tying and winning runs in bottom of seventh in key Catoosa game, then scored go-ahead run in top of seventh in championship contest.

Grade — A-plus



BENCH

Britt Wilson, Brittany Reavis, and Megan Neal saw limited playing time during the 4 games, but never stopped cheering and backing their teammates both at bat and in the field.

Grade — A



COACHING

Head coach Tony Winefield and assistants Jeff Faulconer and Randa Fay had the right players in the right situations to pull out the regional championship. Some last-minute hunches also paid off. Glover wasn't expected to pitch the first day. She came in to save the McAlester game and then went all seven innings to defeat Catoosa. Except for making needed position changes involving moving a fielder to pitch, the staff stuck with the same lineup in all four games.

Grade — A





BRACKET A



Thursday

Game 1 — Claremore vs. MWC Albert, noon

Game 2 — Skiatook vs. Duncan, 2 p.m.

Game 3 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 4 p.m. (loser eliminated)

Game 4 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Friday

Game 5 — Game 4 loser vs. Game 3 winner, 10 a.m. (loser eliminated)

Game 6 — Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 2 p.m.

Game 7 — if necessary, 6 p.m.

Bracket winner advances to championship game, 1 p.m., Saturday



BRACKET B



Thursday

Game 1 — Coweta vs. Edmond Deer Creek, noon

Game 2 — Bixby vs. Lawton MacArthur, 2 p.m.

Game 3 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 4 p.m. (loser eliminated)

Game 4 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Friday

Game 5 — Game 4 loser vs. Game 3 winner, noon (loser eliminated)

Game 6 — Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 7 — if necessary, 8 p.m.

Bracket winner advances to championship game, 1 p.m., Saturday



Tickets — $5, adults and students

Site — Hall of Fame Stadium, 2801 NE 50th St., Oklahoma City

Openings — On Thursday, gates open 10:30 a.m. On Friday, gates open 8:30 a.m. On Saturday, gates open 11:30 a.m.



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