There’s no denying the ‘HEART’ of these Claremore Lady Zebras.
With their backs against the wall Thursday, these ‘diamond girls’ proved be the last team standing and hoisting a trophy after six exhilarating hours and three wins later.
“I’ve never seen a team want something as bad as they did today,” Claremore Lady Zebra head coach Jim Sherl said. “After we got those first two wins, you could tell this group of seniors and their teammates weren’t going to be denied in that final game.”
Pitch-for-pitch, Claremore seniors Kaylee Bart and Ally Johnson combined to gut it out in the circle.
Though their arms may have been showing fatigue after two straight games, it was obvious they weren’t going down without a fight.
After Claremore senior pitcher Stephanie Schivally kicked off the regional tournament with a perfect game, no-hitter in a 22-0 win over Tulsa Memorial, Bart and Ally Johnson answered the challenge Thursday with 63 outs of gut-wrenching pitching in the circle. It was a combined effort that held McAlester’s explosive offense to two runs in 14 innings.
“Anytime you can hold McAlester’s lineup to just two runs, that’s saying something for your pitching staff,” Sherl said. “McAlester’s a great club with a great pitcher (Selmon) that also is a great hitter. All around, she’s their best player and we handled her well.”
The performance by the Lady Zebras, especially in their 11-2 win over District 5A-4 rival Skiatook to open the day Thursday, set the tone for back-to-back victories over McAlester.
Sherl said his Lady Zebras set a goal at the beginning of the season to go out and not only host a regional tournament but also win a championship — something that hasn’t been done since 2008.
Mission accomplished by 8 p.m. Thursday night.
Claremore got behind 2-0 in Game 6 against McAlester but never caved in under the pressure.
A lead-off single by Schivally in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a one-out single by senior shortstop Sarah Brown, set the stage for Ally Johnson’s 2-run single to center field that tied the game at 2-2.
“Patience at the plate and the big hit by Ally (Johnson) gave a chance to do something big in Game 6,” Sherl added.
The Lady Zebras kept chipping away at McAlester’s Cheyenne Selmon and won the game in the bottom of the sixth with junior catcher Hailey Seago driving in the go-ahead run on a infield hit that caromed off the glove of the McAlester shortstop to make it 3-2. Claremore’s insurance run — Brown crossing home plate — came on freshman third baseman Erica Spencer’s deep sacrifice flyball to right-center field that sealed the 4-2 win.
“All season long, this team hasn’t backed away from pressure,” Sherl said. “We proved that in the district championship game against Tahlequah, and then again tonight in a game we needed in order to stay alive.”
Sherl added that his team gets fired up for the big games.
“We’re at our best when we’re facing tough-caliber teams,” Sherl said. “I think this team has a chance to do something special this week in the state tournament.
“To know that we’re one of eight teams remaining in Class 5A, that says something about the heart of this team.”
Seniors Bart, Johnson gut it out in the circle to lead Claremore to state tourney
There’s no denying the ‘HEART’ of these Claremore Lady Zebras.
‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd
Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.
BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory
The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's. Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.
Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2
The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.
RSU places 77 student-athletes on Heartland Conference Academic All-Conference Honor Roll
The Heartland Conference announced that more than 1000 student-athletes from its 12 member institutions landed a spot on the Academic All-Conference honor roll, including 77 from Rogers State.
The Hillcats had 33 student-athletes named to the President's Honor Roll while 44 earned Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition.
Indoor football coming back to Enid?
Is Enid ready to give professional arena football another try? Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers owner Mark Timberlake think so, and are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.
OU holds Mixon out of practice, investigation continues
Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today, but freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there, the school announced Wednesday night.
The university, in its statement, said “Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Ticket options available for Arkansas women's basketball
The excitement surrounding head coach Jimmy Dykes and the 2014-15 University of Arkansas women’s basketball season is building every day in Northwest Arkansas.
As the excitement builds, the Razorback Ticket Center has announced the availability of women’s basketball season ticket plans including several new options for this season. Tickets go on sale beginning today and can be purchased online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 800-982-4647. Current season ticket holders will receive renewal forms in the mail the first week of August.
Ex-OSU baseball players Oliver, Hague on new paths in All-Star season
Matt Hague has transitioned to being a power hitter and Andy Oliver has evolved into a shutdown closer.
The former Oklahoma State players were both named International League All-Stars after reinventing themselves this season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ex-Sooner Courtney Paris finding niche with Shock
It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the nation.
MLB: Keuchel tosses 4-hitter, Astros roll past A's
In at least one category, Dallas Keuchel is Clayton Kershaw's equal. For at least one three-game series, Houston was better than Oakland.
Keuchel pitched a four-hitter and Robbie Grossman homered to cap a six-run first inning that sent the Astros past the Athletics 8-1 Wednesday.
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- ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd