It was already a significant day in the life of Lillie Walker, and her performance on Tuesday afternoon made it even more special.
Only hours after announcing her commitment to play collegiate softball for Duke University (Durham, N.C.), Walker showed off her Division I skill, pitching a four-strikeout shutout while also notching a three-run homer in Inola’s 9-0 victory over Vinita.
She announced her commitment to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) school on Twitter, stating, “I am very blessed to announce my commitment to Duke University! Thank you to all the people who have supported me, and to God for giving me this amazing opportunity! Go Blue Devils!”
Duke is a relatively young program in the Division I ranks, with its inaugural season coming in 2018. The program is 54-58 through two seasons.
The future Blue Devil allowed only three hits and a walk through six innings in the circle. About 69 percent of her 58 pitches resulted in strikes.
Through 64.8 innings in the circle this season, Walker has struck out 71 while allowing seven walks and only 10 earned runs on 53 hits.
Walker, who opened the scoring in the first inning with a fly-ball single to rightfield, also went 2-for-3 at the plate with 5 RBIs and a walk with no strikeouts.
Her home run capped a six-run burst in the fifth, ending a three-inning drought for the Lady Horns.
Walker has stepped up to bat 37 times this season, tallying 14 hits, 11 RBIs and six walks while suffering nine strikeouts.
Prior to the blast, Allison McGowan recorded a 2-RBI double to score Amelia Danker and Avery Cosper, and Lacey Stamper brought the score to 4-0 with a single to the second baseman, scoring McGowan.
Stamper finished 2-for-3 as well, tallying and RBI and a walk with no strikeouts.
Walker’s final RBI came in the sixth inning on a bases-loaded walk. Macy Hutchinson scored in a similar manner two at-bats prior.
Inola, now 9-6 overall and 3-2 in District 4A-6, takes its five-game winning streak to district leader Hilldale at 5 p.m. Thursday.