Posted on the northwest wall of the press box facility at the Claremore softball complex is a board recognizing the program’s greatest achievements.
Several state, regional and district championships are represented, but nothing has been added since 2013.
Maddox Thomas made sure that drought ended Wednesday afternoon.
The junior catcher finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a home run and two doubles, leading the Lady Zebras to a 10-5 victory over Glenpool in the Class 5A Regional 6 championship game. As a result, Claremore is in the state tournament for the first time in seven years.
Coach Keeli Garroutte’s squad will play next Thursday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City against the winner of Regional 3, which will likely be defending Class 5A state champion Piedmont.
After the trophy presentation, pitcher Alyssa Poorboy approached Thomas and unfolded a piece of notebook paper that simply read “2020”.
It will be used as a placeholder on the achievements board until it can be officially updated.
“It’s definitely been a long time since we’ve been to state, and me and Alyssa — my pitcher — are super excited to be back,” Thomas said. “We just want to go tape that up there so people know that we’re back.”
Thomas put the Lady Zebras on the board first with a double to center field in the first inning, and she followed that with a 2-RBI double in the third to make the score 4-0.
Emily Rogers followed both hits with RBI singles, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate. Paiten Reavis and Abbey Hagen managed two hits apiece as well.
However, Thomas’ solo home run was the most impactful.
Glenpool rallied off five runs in the fifth to bring itself within one score at 6-5, but the lead-off blast in the bottom half gave Claremore the momentum for good.
“I had no pressure because we were up one,” Thomas said of her home run at-bat. “There was no pressure at all. I didn’t need to worry, and I was just waiting for my pitch to drive. The pressure was on them.”
While Thomas was getting it done at the plate, Poorboy took care of business from the circle.
Despite surrendering five runs on five hits in the fifth, the senior regained her composure and tossed three-consecutive strikeouts in the penultimate inning.
After a pair of RBI singles from Jadyn Muns and Terran Schornick — along with a bases-loaded walk — added some insurance runs, she forced two groundouts and a fly out in the seventh to finish off the pesky Lady Warriors.
Poorboy finished with seven strikeouts on 91 pitches.
Thomas said her desire to keep Poorboy fresh sparked her memorable offensive performance.
After all, Poorboy threw a total of 195 pitches through 14 innings in less than 24 hours. Putting her in an “if” game situation with a fatigued arm would’ve been undoubtedly risky.
“Alyssa is our No. 1 pitcher, and I know if we would’ve had to play them again, she would’ve started, and that’s just too much for her,” Thomas said. “I was like, ‘Finish this off.’ We had a long talk before the game, just staying positive. I told her, ‘I call the pitches, so if they get a hit off your pitch, that’s on me. Just do your job, and let’s get on top.’”