By Matt Goisman
CROWDER — Some teams might collapse after blowing an eight-run lead.
The Quinton Lady Savages just kept on hitting.
The Lady Savages scored four two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth, powering them to 14-10 win against the Keota Lady Lions in Friday’s district championship in Crowder.
Quinton won its first slowpitch district title in school history and advanced to Regionals. The Lady Savages last won a fastpitch district title in 2012.
“It shows how much heart they have,” Quinton coach Tara Satterfield said.
“They never stop; they never quit. They were just relentless and just kept on and on and on and kept attacking.”
Though Ashley Thomas led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Keota pitcher Cassie Drummonds retired the next two Lady Savages on a foul out to third and a popup back to the pitcher. But Casey Brennan, the Lady Savages’ last hitter in their lineup, kept the inning alive with a single to left, then Macey McKee did the same.
Keota left fielder Journey Shepherd misplayed McKee’s hit, allowing Thomas to score from second. The Lady Lions intentionally walked Kelsey Crawford to load the bases, then Erin Bruner knocked one into center field for a two-run single and a 13-10 Quinton lead.
Bruner also batted in a run during a five-run bottom of the first. She finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
“I usually like to swing at the high ones, but I was attempting not to,” Bruner said. “I was trying to wait for a good one, and I got some pretty good hits out of it.”
Taylor Myers singled to left to drive in Crawford for a 14-10 lead. Quinton pitcher Shelby Brennan, who’d pitched both of Quinton’s round-robin district games, gave up a two-out double to Traci Lee in the top of the seventh, but Shelby got KK Stricklin to pop out to second to end the game.
“I have to try to make sure my arm just goes off the side of my body just as straight as it can,” Shelby Brennan said.
The loss spoiled a game in which the Lady Lions had scored eight in the top of the fifth to overcome a 10-2 deficit. The Lady Savages could’ve limited the damage to three runs with better defense, but Crawford dropped a two-out fly ball in the outfield, then first baseman Myers dropped a throw from shortstop that would’ve ended the inning.
Following Myers’ drop, Morgan Martin doubled to right to drive in two. Emily Geer then homered to center to tie the game 10-10.
While those last two hits came with runners in scoring position, the Lady Lions overall hit just 4-for-15 in that situation. All four of those hits came in the fifth.
“That’s hurt us all season,” Keota coach Joye Smith said of her team’s lack of timely hitting. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel.”
The Lady Savages had gone up 10-2 with a five-run bottom of the fourth. Jaycee McKee took two pitches from Drummonds for a 1-1 count, then deposited the third pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run.
It was the junior’s first career home run.
“That was a game that we just really wanted to win,” Jaycee said.
Hanna Pitman reached on a fielder’s choice for Quinton later in the fourth, then Alexis Kash beat out an infield single. Macey McKee drove in both with a double to the center field wall, then Crawford blasted the first pitch of her at-bat well beyond the wall in left — and possibly into Lake
Crowder behind the softball field — for a two-run homer and a 10-2 lead.
“I usually have to go with the first pitch, because sometimes they don’t throw very good (pitches) to me,” Crawford said. “I was wanting to hit it hard.”
An error by Macey McKee at shortstop allowed Keota to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Quinton quickly answered. Macey led off the bottom of the first with a walk, then scored on a triple by Crawford to tie the game.
Bruner’s single drove in Crawford, then Shelby Brennan and Jaycee McKee hit back-to-back RBI singles. Thomas then hit into a fielder’s choice at second that still scored Shelby for a 5-1 lead.
In the round-robin portion of the tournament, Quinton beat Keota 24-22, Keota beat Crowder 12-3 and Quinton beat Crowder 11-1 to eliminate the Demonettes. Crawford’s grand slam home run highlighted Quinton’s win against Crowder.
Quinton improved to 10-11 with the win, while Keota finished its season 6-8.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.