SHAWNEE — A sophomore helped ignite Kiowa's offense in a state title defense.
Sophomore Chloe Crawley's bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the second sparked some energy and the offense as Class B-No. 1 Kiowa (40-4) rolled to a 6-1 win against No. 6 Whitesboro in the fast-pitch softball state championship at FireLake Ball Fields in Shawnee.
“She (Whitesboro freshman pitcher Courtney Grey) started throwing me riseballs after my first at-bat, and I just had to lay off of them,” Crawley said. “Then she started throwing a little bit in and I like the inside pitches.”
Kiowa won the 2018 Class B fast-pitch state championship and the 2019 Class A slow-pitch state championship before successfully defending their fast-pitch crown Saturday.
“It’s very special,” said Kiowa coach Keith Quaid, a Kiowa graduate. “I’m just blessed to work at a place that I love, and kids that work hard for me, and I just can’t put it into words. It’s unbelievable.”
Junior Sydney Linscott’s two-run homer over the left field wall in the next inning sent the Cowgirls’ fans into an eruption as they took a 5-0 lead.
“I was thinking, ‘Man, we got this, we’re turning it on now, let’s go,’” Linscott said about her thoughts while rounding the bases.
Senior pitcher Rachel Eggleston was shaken up when a line drive came right back at her in the top of the fifth. Eggleston was down for a short bit before getting back up and returning to pitch.
She went all seven innings and struck out five, limiting the Lady Bulldogs to just one run in the top of the sixth.
Getting the final out was senior left fielder Cadence Howard, who also caught the final out in Thursday’s 8-2 quarterfinal win against Hammon.
Junior Hannah Abeyta skied one into shallow left toward foul territory, and Howard ran towards the fence with her glove to make the grab and secure the repeat.
“I just knew that she had been hitting it short all day, but I didn’t want to give her the opportunity to hit it over my head,” Howard said. “I just ran as hard as I could, and as soon as I saw the fence, I put my hand out, I was able to catch it. It was crazy.”
Contact Corey Stolzenbach at email@example.com