OKLAHOMA CITY — When teams get to the Class 5A state tournament, it’s the little things that make the difference between moving on and the bus ride home.
The little things between No. 1 Tahlequah and No. 4 Chickasha were errors and the Lady Tigers committed six in falling to the Chicks 6-2 Thursday as ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
“We prepared well and I thought we were ready,” said Tahlequah coach Matt Cloud. We knew what they were going to do and still couldn’t stop them.”
Senior Britney Johnson (19-7) started in the circle for the Lady Tigers (29-8) and gave up only two earned runs on four hits.
On the other side, Chickasha pitcher Kelsi Gore was the main reason for Tahlequah’s stumble as she limited the Lady Tigers to three hits. Johnson had one in the first and moments later scored the first run on a groundout.
Her second hit, a single in the seventh, drove in Bub Peters to make it a 6-2 game. Randee O’Donnell then walked to load the bases and put the tying run at the plate in Kirsten Chase. But when Chase popped up to center, the game was over and Tahlequah was headed home.
O’Donnell had the other hit for the Lady Tigers, a leadoff double in the sixth. She reached third on a groundout but was left stranded.
Chickasha (31-9) advances to the semifinals and faces Deer Creek, a 7-6 winner over Pryor.
“We tried our best,” Johnson said. “They took advantage of our mistakes and used their speed. We didn’t give up and I thought we were going to come back and win.”
It was the Lady Tigers’ third consecutive state trip under Cloud in his three seasons. They were defeated in the semifinals two years ago and lost in the finals last year, both times eliminated by Carl Albert.
“We have every starting fielder coming back,” Cloud said. “I would be surprised if we aren’t back here next year.”