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.
Patel named RSU men's basketball assistant coach
Rogers State University head men’s basketball coach Justin Barkley named Vinay Patel the new assistant men’s basketball coach on Monday.
“I am very excited about bringing Vinay on board,” Barkley said. “He brings invaluable experience to the program as he is a well-respected recruiter and his NCAA Division II resume is a perfect fit as we continue our transition to become a full-NCAA Division II member.”
Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell capped off a stellar four-year prep basketball career with Tulsa World 2nd-Team All-State recognition.
O’Dell, a 5-foot-5 floor general that will compete for the Lamar University Lady Cardinals in the Southland Conference next season, was one of five girls basketball players from Rogers County to earn All-State accolades.
Claremore senior point guard Kaleigh Cox, Inola senior point guard Lexi Williams, Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan and Verdigris freshman forward Keara Battenfield were named to the honorable mention squad.
SOCCER: Lady Zebras ranked 4th in Class 5A poll
Strong senior leadership and a talented core of underclassmen have kept the Claremore Lady Zebras on a nine-game winning streak since falling in the season opener.
Senior midfielder Katelin Teter and senior defenders Jentry Cruce and Anna McGuire have the Lady Zebras playing their best soccer in the closing week of the regular season.
Behind Teter, Cruce and McGuire, as well as other seniors Bailey Bacon and Emily Parkinson, the Lady Zebras (9-1) are currently ranked No. 4 overall in the Class 5A girls soccer state poll.
BASEBALL: Claremore splits series with Collinsville
The moment Claremore senior catcher Matt Whatley got thrown out at home plate in the top of first inning, it was downhill for the Zebras.
Collinsville took advantage of six Claremore errors and erupted for 17 hits to thump the Zebras, 15-2 Friday afternoon in Metro Lakes Conference play.
BASEBALL: Catoosa’s Brown holds off Ft. Gibson
Nick Brown twirled a four-hitter and Catoosa held firm defensively with the game on the line, powering the Indians to a 4-3 victory over Fort Gibson Saturday on Senior Day.
RSU's Law silences UT-Permian Basin
The Rogers State University baseball team dropped game one of a Heartland Conference series at Texas-Permian Basin, 2-0, but battled back to split the twin bill Friday with a 7-1 victory in the night cap.
Happy 100th, Wrigley Field!
Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, marks the 100th anniversary of its first game on Wednesday with a matchup against Arizona. The ballpark that opened as Weeghman Park on April 23, 1914, has hosted millions of fans and been the scene of some of baseball's most indelible moments.
Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field
During a recent game at Wrigley Field, John Weber was using a pencil and scorecard to expertly track the game between his hometown Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 86-year-old retired transit worker figures he is an increasingly rare kind of baseball fan.
MLB: Pujols smashes HRs No. 499, 500 against Nationals
Albert Pujols smiled as he explained why he felt the need to apologize to his wife for hitting homer No. 500 so quickly after No. 499.
She had planned to be there in person once he got within one of the milestone.
He didn't give her the chance.
Pujols became the first major leaguer to get his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, connecting twice Tuesday night and driving in five runs in the Los Angeles Angels' 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. He's the 26th player in big league history to reach 500.
SEC FOOTBALL: Tennessee RB Hill plans to transfer
Tennessee running back Alden Hill has decided to transfer to another school.
Hill tweeted a link to a post on his Instagram account Tuesday in which he said he had ''decided to move on for my best interest and find a new home.'' Although Hill's Twitter account is unverified, Tennessee coach Butch Jones confirmed via text message that Hill was planning to transfer.
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