Down 1-0 in Thursday’s if-game, Smith beat out an infield single to lead off the top of the seventh. Two ground outs got Smith to third, but Vhitney Garner grounded out to end the game and send Claremore to State.
“We had plenty of opportunities to get hits earlier, in the second game especially, to bust it open,” Bond said. “We really didn’t come up with those situational hits, or we score five or six runs.”
Had McAlester finished higher in its district, it might’ve drawn or even hosted an easier Regional. But Selman’s injuries took her out of the pitching circle after the team beat Edison Prep on Sept. 9, and the Lady Buffs never regained their footing.
By the time Selman returned to play Bishop Kelley on Sept. 30, the Lady Buffs had lost five district games in a row. Bond said Erica Martin, Adisyn Webster and Kylee Impson all have a chance to be the Lady Buffs’ ace next year.
“How I’ll do it is we’ll go until somebody proves that they can earn a spot,” Bond said.
“You never know who’s going to respond next year and who’s going to do what.”
For seniors Smith, Selman, Ariana Garner, Baylee Dawkins and Stacey Washington, Thursday marked the end of their high school softball careers.
“Stacey really kind of secured the outfield for us, and Courtney had one of the strongest arms on the team,” Bond said. “Baylee was always a rock and steady for us in the infield, and it’s hard to replace what Selman did in the circle.
“The senior class cared a lot about our team and how we performed each and every day. They laid it out on the line when times were tough, and they were a big part of it when times were good.”