McALESTER — Both the Kiowa Cowgirls and Stuart Lady Hornets could get runners on base. But Stuart’s defense made fewer mistakes and its offense knocked more balls into the outfield.
A well-handled grounder and a couple more singles can mean the difference between a seven-run inning and a two-run inning.
The Lady Hornets belted out 20 hits and took advantage of four Kiowa errors in the Pitt 8 Tournament championship, run-ruling the Cowgirls in six innings, 16-8, Tuesday at the Pittsburg County Softball Complex in McAlester.
“It’s a defensive sport,” Stuart coach Chance Chapman. “You have to hit it where they’re not, but at the same time, when they don’t hit it where you’re not, you have to be prepared to make the plays. That’s something we work everyday, is our defense.”
Errors proved especially costly for the Cowgirls in the bottom of the fourth inning. Up just 7-6, Maddy Key drew a leadoff walk for the Lady Hornets, then Cierra Chapman grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base.
Chasity Garvin singled to left to put two runners on, then Kylie Jernigen reached when Kiowa shortstop Erin Foris bobbled a potential out.
With the bases loaded, Emilee Beck crushed a pitch over Breanna Mitchell’s head in left field. The ball rolled nearly to the fence, allowing three runs to score easily, and Beck beat the throw home for an inside-the-park grand slam that made it 11-6 Stuart.
Beck said it was the first inside-the-park grand slam of her career.
“When that pitch came down the middle, I had to hit it,” Beck said. “I couldn’t let that one go. It was perfect.”
Back-to-back singles by Kayla Smith and Megan Jernigen put two more Lady Hornets on with one out. Krystin Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, but Makayla Clark beat out an infield single, then Reecie Curlee drilled one into left to plate two more runs for a 13-6 lead.