Claremore senior second baseman Stephanie Schivally thrives under pressure.
With two outs and the count 2-2, Schivally delivered the biggest hit of her senior year — a game-winning single in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Schivally’s clutch single allowed Claremore senior center fielder Madison Bright to score from second base and sparked the Lady Zebras to a 4-3 win over Tahlequah Thursday afternoon.
The win guaranteed the Lady Zebras the District 5A-3 championship and the opportunity to host the Class 5A Regionals in two weeks.
“I couldn’t be more proud for this team and the way they never gave up after being down 3-0 in the first inning,” Claremore head coach Jim Sherl. “Their goal coming into the season was to win district and host regionals. These girls accomplished that with an all-around team effort.”
Trailing 3-2 going into the fourth inning, Erica Spencer led off with her second single of the game, and later scored the tying run on Bright’s double to center field to even the score at 3-3.
One batter later, Schivally put the Lady Zebras up for good at 4-3 on a shallow single to right-center field that allowed the ‘speedy’ Bright to score from second base.
Up until the fourth inning, Claremore had to play from behind as Tahlequah built a 3-0 in the top of the first inning.
Whitney Wright gave Tahlequah a 1-0 lead with one out in the first on a towering solo homer off Claremore starting pitcher Ally Johnson. Then, with two outs, Courtney Drye smashed a two-run homer over the right-center field fence to increase Tahlequah’s lead to 3-0.
Sherl said that when we talked to the team in the circle after Drye’s homer, their attitude was ‘we’re ready to go.’
“With this lineup, we have the ability to score runs and put pressure on opponents,” Sherl said. “That first inning tested our character.”
Claremore answered in the bottom of the first inning and cut Tahlequah’s lead to 3-1 on Sarah Brown’s RBI-single to center field that scored Bright from second base. Bright led off the first inning with a single to left field.
In the circle, Claremore’s Ally Johnson regained her confidence to shutout Tahlequah’s aggressive offense over the final six innings.
Claremore narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning on Bright’s infield single that scored Spencer from third base. Spencer highlighted the inning with a leadoff single to center field. Schivally also contributed with a two-out single to center field.
Relying on her change-up, Ally Johnson carried a 4-3 lead into the fifth inning. Facing Tahlequah’s top three hitters, who Sherl said may be the best in the state, Johnson and the Lady Zebras defense retired the side.
“After the fourth inning, I thought maybe we should change it up in the circle,” Sherl said. “But, Ally refused to come out of the game. She wanted the ball.”
Claremore’s Brown and Ally Johnson tallied back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth, but the Lady Zebras came up short to strand two runners on base.
Tahlequah put the tying run on base in the top of the sixth on a single to right field by Drye. One play later, on a throw down to first base from Claremore catcher Hailey Seago to Kaylee Bart, Drye got caught in a run-down as shortstop Sarah Brown took the relay from Bart and chased Drye back to first base before diving to make the second out.
Lindsey Wade popped out to Claremore sophomore right fielder Kenzie Johnson to end Tahlequah’s sixth-inning rally.
Schivally completed her 3-for-4 outing at the plate with Claremore’s lone single in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Claremore’s Ally Johnson got two quick outs — via solid defense from freshman third baseman Erica Spencer.
After Marisa Girdner’s bunt single put Tahlequah runners on first and third base, Wright’s groundout to Brown completed the hard-fought district championship victory for the Lady Zebras.
“Anytime, you can hold Tahlequah’s offense to five runs in two games, that’s a huge lift for your defense, and Ally Johnson’s pitching in the circle,” Sherl said. “These seniors are the ‘heart’ of this team and tonight, they believed in each other and got a huge win.”
Ally Johnson tossed a complete game to earn the victory. She allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Claremore (21-6 overall, 10-2 conference) will host Senior Night at 5 p.m. on Monday against East Central.
Schivally drives in game-winning run to lead Claremore past Tahlequah, 4-3
Claremore senior second baseman Stephanie Schivally thrives under pressure.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah
Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.
Catoosa HS set to host Class 6A Girls Area; 5A Boys Area tourneys
For high school basketball enthusiasts in Rogers County, Catoosa High School is the place to be on Thursday and Friday.
Catoosa High School will host the Class 6A Girls Area and Class 5A Boys Area over the two-day period.
Class 3A Regional Champions
It’s takes two to tango and the Verdigris basketball teams are dancing their way to the Class 3A Area Finals.
With a state tournament berth on the line Friday night, both Verdigris teams return to a familiar place on the road to state in Oklahoma City.
The Class 3A No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals waltzed past Vian, 58-46 and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals decked Eufaula, 66-53 to cap off the regional championship night Saturday inside the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Claremore set to host 4A Area Basketball Tournament
Claremore High School will be a busy place Thursday through Saturday with several of the state’s top Class 4A basketball teams competing in the area tournament.
West Virginia, Baylor top Big 12 Women's BB Tourney
It took West Virginia two years to make a splash in the Big 12.
The seventh-ranked Mountaineers earned a share of the regular-season title in their second year in the league and take a 10-game win streak into the conference tournament that starts Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
BIG 12 MBB: No. 16 Iowa State looks to close with win over Oklahoma State
Iowa State is more than ready for the postseason after playing 17 games in the nation's most grueling conference.
Still, the Cyclones wouldn't mind picking up a little momentum before heading to the Big 12 tournament and beyond.
No. 16 Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12) has dropped its last two games, road losses to Kansas State and Baylor, after going 7-1 in February.
NBA CAPSULES: Duncan paces Spurs past Heat
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed against the Miami Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense and emotional 111-87 victory Thursday.
MLB: Hill arrives at Red Sox camp following son's death
Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill starts spring training with a heavy heart.
Hill reported to Boston's camp on Thursday following the death of son Brooks, who was less than 2 months old when he died on Feb. 24.
Sports medicine pioneer Frank Jobe dies at 88
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died Thursday. He was 88.
AP Source: 10-second rule withdrawn by committee
Round one of the pace-of-play debate goes to the proponents of fast football.
The NCAA football rules committee tabled a proposal Wednesday that would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock, The Associated Press has learned.
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