Oklahoma City —
The scene was all too familiar for the Roff Lady Tigers.
Less than seven months after watching Binger-Oney celebrate a 2-1 upset in the Class A championship game to cap a fast-pitch season in which Roff was the team to beat for all but the final two innings, the third-ranked Lady Tigers stood, runner-up medals in hand once again, in front of the first base dugout at Hall of Fame Stadium as top-ranked Fort Cobb-Broxton celebrated a 13-3 victory in Wednesday's Class 2A slowpitch title game.
Trailing 2-1 after four innings, the Lady Mustangs scored 12 runs in their final three at-bats — seven in the top of the seventh to finally put the game away — and beat a Roff club that had banged out 38 hits in its first two games of the day — 19 each in a 15-3 run-rule rout of Pond Creek-Hunter and an 8-3 semifinal victory over New Lima — but managed just six singles off righty Jennifer Johnson in the title game.
“I think we tightened up and lost our focus a little bit, and we couldn’t get it back,” Roff coach Kathy Gregson said after the first runner-up finish in slowpitch for her program since 2004. “Fort Cobb smelled blood in the water and they took advantage of it. They’re No. 1 for a reason.
“We had our chances,” she added. “But when we smelled blood in the water we couldn’t capitalize. It’s a little different than in the fall, because a lot of people didn’t expect us to get here this spring. I think we’re known more for fast-pitch now, so it’s nice to get here.”
The Lady Mustangs gift-wrapped runs in the third and fourth innings, committing two errors in the third to stake Roff to a 1-0 lead and three more in the bottom of fourth to push the Lady Tigers in front for the last time — after a leadoff double by Ashton Lierle and a one-out RBI single by McKenna Clift had tied the score in the top of the inning.
But after stranding seven baserunners through four innings, the Fort Cobb offense came to life in the top of the fifth. The Lady Mustangs strung together four straight hits — including RBI singles by Johnson and Sydney DeVaughan — after the first Roff error of the state tournament leading off the inning to make it 3-2, then Cheyenne Pierce and Clift capped the rally with two-out RBI hits to push the lead to 5-2.
Fort Cobb added a run in the sixth on DeVaughan’s second run-scoring hit in as many innings, and after Roff scored its final run of the season in the bottom of the inning on a one-out single by Taylor Canida and two-out hits by Casey Kelley and losing pitcher Kayla Hood, the Lady Mustangs put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh.
Roff’s second error of the game with one out was followed by two singles, a bases-loaded walk, an RBI single by Haley Hammons (her fourth hit of the game) and a two-run double to right-center by Mallory Clift. Johnson added an RBI double — also her fourth hit of the game — and DeVaughan closed out the scoring with an RBI single, then Johnson needed just seven pitches to retire Roff in the bottom of the seventh and seal the win.
In addition to the four hits each from Hammons and Johnson, the Lady Mustangs got two hits from McKenna Clift and Mallory Clift and two apiece from Sydney DeVaughan, Lierle and Ashley DeVaughan as part of a 22-hit attack against Hood, who had given up a total of nine hits in her first two state tournament games.
Kelley was 2-for-3 for the Lady Tigers, who finished 28-11.
Roff 8, New Lima 3
Roff outhit New Lima, 19-3, but hit into four double plays — all started by Falconette shortstop Joanah Harjo-Tiger — to keep the score respectable. While New Lima’s top six hitters were a combined 0-for-15 with three intentional walks (all to Sarada Lena), Roff’s top six were a sizzling 16-for-24 with six runs scored and seven RBIs. And for good measure, Monica Miller was 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored from the No. 10 spot in the order.
Kelley and Hood had RBI singles and Magan Kile added a sacrifice fly in a four-run first-inning rally, then Miller tripled into the left field corner leading off the second and scored on J. J. Stewart’s sacrifice fly. After a single by Lauren Trimmer, a fielder’s choice and a single by Jordan Grinstead, Kelley singled to right-center to make it 6-0.
New Lima scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second on a two-out double by Jessie Turpin, a single by Kinzey Bryan and an error, then Roff answered with a run in the top of the third on a leadoff single by Kile and two-out singles by Miller and Stewart.
The Falconettes — 29-4 after a first-round upset of No. 2 Binger-Oney — pieced together another two-out rally in the fourth on back-to-back four-pitch walks to Turpin and Bryan and Courtney Harjo’s two-run double to the wall in left. But Harjo’s hit was the last of the game off Hood, who worked around a two-out walk in the fifth before breezing through the sixth and seventh.
Hood and Kile continued their huge afternoons at the plate with three hits apiece to improve to 7-for-8 and 6-for-7, respectively, through the first two rounds of the state tournament. Stewart wrapped up the scoring with an inside-the-park home run into the left field corner with one out in the sixth and joined Trimmer, Grinstead, Canida, Kelley and Miller with two hits apiece for the Lady Tigers.
Roff 15, Pond Creek-Hunter 3
The Lady Tigers scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs; Hood, meanwhile, didn’t allow more than one hit in any inning except the third, when the Lady Panthers scored all three of their runs.
Kelley, Hood and Kile had consecutive two-out RBI singles to highlight a five-run first-inning outburst fueled by a pair of Pond Creek errors, then Stewart tripled and Trimmer doubled on consecutive pitches with one out in the second to make it 10-0.
Roff’s lead swelled to 10-0 after a four-run third-inning rally that featured Miller’s two-out single and a three-run double by Stewart three pitches later, and the Lady Tigers added four more runs on five hits in the fourth, all after the first two batters in the inning were retired. Hood started the rally with her third of four hits in the game to start a string of singles by the bottom five hitters in the Roff lineup.
Kile followed with her third hit of the game, Taylor McCoy grounded a single up the middle, Kelsey Anderson slapped a hit up the middle to score Hood, then Miller grounded a line-hugging single just inside the third base bag to plate Kendal Sanford (who scored three runs as a courtesy runner for Kile) and McCoy. The final run in the inning scored on an error on Stewart’s ground ball.
Roff’s final run scored in the fifth on Grinstead’s one-out double and the fourth Pond Creek error in the game.
Hood finished 4-for-4 to pace Roff’s 19-hit attack and scored three times, Stewart and Kile had three hits apiece and combined to drive in four runs (three by Stewart), and Trimmer, Miller and Grinstead added three hits apiece in the win. Haylee Lorenz had two of the Lady Panthers’ six hits, including an RBI double in the third.