McALESTER — When McAlester pitcher Adisyn Webster got ground balls, her defense made plays behind her.
But when Durant hitters hit line drives or home runs, there wasn’t much Webster’s defense could do.
The Lady Lions homered twice, overpowering the Lady Buffaloes at Bud Hale Sports Complex on Tuesday, 8-4. The Lady Buffs lost to a district opponent for the first time this season.
After a solo shot from Macy Powell put Durant up 1-0 in the top of the second, the Lady Lions sent eight to the plate in the top of the third. Alexa Richards singled to left with one out, then Destinee Lewis walked.
Kylie Manning then doubled to the wall in right center, scoring both Richards and Lewis and advancing to third on the throw home. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Powell and Breanne Simmons pushed the lead to 5-0 before Webster got the next two to pop out to end the inning.
“We had to really step back and force ourselves to go up the middle, and that’s what we kind of preached the last couple days,” Durant coach Aaron Mullens said.
“We hit that left-center gap a lot tonight, so I was impressed with that.”
McAlester pulled to within two in the bottom of the third, but Durant pushed its lead back to five in the top of the fourth. Sidney Hampton and Richards singled to start the inning, and though Webster tried to pitch around Lewis, she left one too far over the plate, and Lewis belted it over the left-field wall for a three-run homer and an 8-4 lead.
“One of my players, she told me that it was outside,” Lewis said. “So I just scoot up to the plate, and there it was, down the middle.
The Lady Buffs got their leadoff hitter on first to start six of their seven innings, but that leadoff hitter crossed home only in the third inning. Cheyenne Selman doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch, and the Lady Buffs loaded the bases on three consecutive walks — one against starter Kylie Williams and two against reliever Hampton, who came in with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
Hampton escaped the sixth inning, getting Kylee Impson to line out sharply to first, then overpowering Webster with an inning-ending strikeout. A hit-by-pitch and a double by Stacey Washington put two Lady Buffs in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but Hampton struck out Vhitney Garner, intentionally walked Selman, got Baylee Dawkins to foul out to the catcher and then got Morgano to ground out to third to end the game.
“We’re a situational hit in the sixth inning, with the line drive that was caught at first, to scoring possibly two to three runs there, which would’ve made it an 8-7 game,” Lady Buffs coach Justin Bond said. “And then we had the tying run at home plate in the seventh inning. So we put ourselves in a position to win, the girls battled the whole way, (but) it didn’t fall our way.”
The Lady Buffs may need better situational hitting, as Bond said before the game pitching ace Selman has been battling back pain. Assuming the pain doesn’t worsen, Bond said, Selman will continue to bat and play shortstop, but she could see her innings restricted in the final weeks of the season to keep her strong for the playoffs.
That likely means more starts for Webster, who settled down after Lewis’ homer, who retired 12 of her final 14 patters and didn’t allow another run through the seventh inning. But while Webster, a freshman, pitched a complete game, she didn’t record a single strikeout.
“Being able to locate the ball in, out, up, down, throwing to the four zones there, will be the best thing for her right now until she can develop a little more velocity,” Bond said of Webster.
“That’s a hard thing for young girls to learn, is to be able to pitch to contact, but make it a quality pitch, and I think she’s starting to learn that.”
McAlester’s other three runs came in the bottom of the third. Impson got on via a hit-by-pitch, then beat out a throw to second on a grounder to deep shortstop by Webster.
Courtney Smith reached on a bunt single before Washington popped out to second base. Garner drove in a run with a groundout, then another run scored when Lewis’ throw from first got away from catcher Richards.
Smith went to third on the error, then came home on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 5-3. Durant improved to 8-11 overall and 5-3 in the district, while McAlester fell to 13-7 overall, 7-1 in the district.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.