SHAWNEE — Allison Wells was comfortable. Even with the bases loaded and Marlow up 2-1 on Washington, the Warriors’ senior pitcher wasn’t dazed.
“I was comfortable, and just extremely focused,” she said. “Those tough situations make me focus even more. I know I’ve got my defense behind me and they’ll make plays. I wasn’t worried.”
Wells proved that. She proved it in the first inning when Marlow loaded the bases after a Washington error, and she proved it again when the situation repeated itself in the sixth inning and the Warriors were clinging to a lead. And because of that — and an efficient Washington offense that took advantage of every Marlow error — the Warriors walked away with a 6-3 victory and a ticket to the Class 3A state championship.
The game started off fast. Washington jumped on top of Marlow in the first at-bat of the contest. Aided by the first of five Marlow errors that gave Washington a baserunner, Aly Clemence bunted in a run to put the Warriors on top.
But the Outlaws responded in the bottom half of the inning. Two free baserunners courtesy of a walk and an error quickly tied the game and left two runners on with no outs. That’s when Wells took over. She worked her way out of the inning after allowing just one more run and put the Warriors in position to respond.
And they did, in the bottom of the fourth. While the Warriors’ defense, led by Wells, calmed down as the game went on, the Outlaws did not. An overthrown ball sailed into left field, allowing Washington to retake the lead, and a dropped throw at first base put the Warriors up 4-2.
That was more than enough for Wells, who allowed just one run the rest of the way and again worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning to lead Washington to a revenge victory over a Marlow team that defeated the Warriors 5-4 early in the season.
“These girls are tough as nails,” coach Bryan Howard said. “They worked like dogs over the summer and this season to get here, and it shows. Even when we got down they stayed calm and stuck with it. That’s the sign of a good team.”
Only one team stands in the way of a state championship for the Warriors: top-ranked Sequoyah-Tahlequah, which cruised to a 10-5 victory over Henryetta on Friday. The title game is at 1:15 p.m. today at The Ball Fields at Firelake complex in Shawnee.
“I’m expecting a great outcome,” Wells said. “It’s my last high school game. I’m thinking about all the hours I’ve put into practice and lessons and just throwing in the yard with my mom and dad. I’m ready.”
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