By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
SHAWNEE — Southmoore has turned to Katelyn Brown for every big game the team has played this year. And the senior hurler has repaid them with big-game performance after big-game performance.
In four games this postseason, Brown has yet to yield a single run. That included Friday, when the SaberCats defeated Broken Arrow 6-0 in the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament.
The victory landed the ’Cats in their first-ever fastpitch title game. It also gives Brown a chance to pay back rival Moore for one of only two blemishes on her record. Moore defeated Southmoore 4-2 a week before the postseason began.
“We are where everybody wants to be,” Southmoore coach Jeff Small said. “ We are right there in the finals. We are not afraid to play those people from the east side of town, I will tell you right now. They beat us 4-2 and Katelyn probably had one of the worst pitching performances she’s ever had this year.”
In that loss to Moore, Brown (21-2) walked seven, hit one batter and allowed three hits. The Southern Nazarene commit hopes to have a better outing today when the teams take the field at 6 p.m.
“I think it’s very cool since they are a rival,” Brown said. “Moore is a good team. One thing they never do is give up and they always come back in the end. So we have to finish strong, just like they do.”
Against the Lady Tigers, it was Southmoore who came out swinging when Sydney Sherrill crushed a two-run bomb in the third inning to open scoring.
“When I got up there, I was really looking for an outside pitch,” Sherrill said. “She threw me one, I got a little bit of it and it was a foul ball. The next pitch I just had a feeling it would be an inside pitch. So I just swung and it went.”
That was all Brown needed. She had a no-hitter going through five innings when the rains started to come down. BA’s Maegan Rollow broke it up with a slow rolling bunt single in the top of the sixth inning. Brown then walked the next two batters to load the bases with two outs.
Rachel Trapp came to the plate with a chance to do some serious damage but Brown was up to the challenge. She struck out Trapp to end the threat, which brought a roar from the Southmoore fans.
“Honestly, at that point, with the rain, I was just trying to throw strikes,” Brown said. “Give the defense a chance to get the outs for us.”
That seemed to open the flood gates. Sherrill, Brown and Trenity Edwards combined to knock in four runs in the seventh to put the game away.
Southmoore will send Brown (21-2) to the mound today to face-off with Moore’s Jenna Lewis (24-1). The Lions are seeking their third fast pitch championship while the SaberCats are looking to haul in its first.
“I know they are a good ball club,” Small said. “But we’ll come out we’ll be ready to play. May the best team win tomorrow.”
Moore 4, Mustang 1
Sierra Crick was in near tears Thursday. Even though her Moore Lions had won their quarterfinal game, the sophomore outfielder wasn’t happy with her performance.
Crick came into Friday with two things on her mind. Get Moore into the state championship game and show her team that she can be counted on. She did both as the Lions defeated Mustang 4-1 at The Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee and earned a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
“It’s a really big deal for all of us,” Crick said. “We worked our butts off trying to get here. From day one to right now is what we came to work for.”
Unlike the quarterfinals, Moore didn’t allow their opponent to jump on top of them first. This time they threw the first blow when Kristen Prieto smashed a two-run homer over the left field fence off Mustang’s Jayden Chestnut. MHS led 2-0 in the first inning.
“She just left it in my sweet spot,” Prieto said. “I just knew I was going to be there and I was going to swing. It felt good off the bat and it just went.”
Crick brought the Moore fans to their feet with her defense in the second inning. The senior left fielder sprinted into foul territory to catch a pop fly that looked like it was going to land on the outside of the fence. But she reached over the fence and snared it with the tip of her glove for the out.
“I tried to step it up from yesterday,” Crick said. “I t was a really tough day for me yesterday. It was not one of my best days. I tried to come back and prove to my team that I am still a part of this whole thing.”
From that point on, with the help of her defense, Jenna Lewis mowed down the Broncos with relative ease. She didn’t allow a single batter past second through the fifth.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Mustang’s Katelyn Fisher led off with a double down left field line. Hailee Milburn laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Fisher to third.
Two batters later, Laci Joyner hit a ground ball to Sable Hankins at third and she wasn’t able to corral it in on time and Fisher scored.
Leading 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Crick came to the plate with runners on second and third and only one out. She hit a towering fly to center that allowed a run to score. Brianna McArthur added to the lead with a bloop single that plated Caitlin Hall and gave the Lions a three-run advantage and put the game away.
“It’s amazing to come through for my team and get them back to the ’Ship and redeem ourselves from last year,” Prieto said. “We just have to play our game. And when we are on, we’re on.”
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