SHAWNEE — For the second straight day, Washington fell behind early. Sequoyah-Tahlequah jumped on top 2-0 and looked like it might run away with the Class 3A state title game. But, for the second straight day, the Warriors fought back.
And after Saturday’s 5-3 victory over top-ranked Sequoyah-Tahlequah, Washington has a state championship to show for it.
Allison Wells, the team’s only senior and the pitcher who threw every inning of the state tournament, summed it up simply after the win.
“This was a pretty good way to end it,” she said. “This is what we wanted and worked for. We’re pretty confident and we’re aggressive. I was a little nervous but I wasn’t worried.”
It was Wells’ poise that led the Warriors. After Sequoyah-Tahlequah took a 2-0 lead in the second inning and then quashed a Washington rally in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an incredible diving grab and throw by Sequoyah-Tahlequah’s Kelsey Leach to turn two, the momentum rested solely in the Indians’ dugout. But Wells simply returned to the mound and calmly sat Sequoyah-Tahlequah down in order, setting the state for the Warriors’ big rally in the fourth.
Returning to the small-ball game that the Warriors have perfected through the season, coach Bryan Howard took advantage of two quick baserunners in the fourth to bunt them over and into scoring position. That brought Kelsey Harmon to bat, who laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score both runners after the Indians overthrew the plate. Washington added two more in the inning on RBI hits by Macey Cargill and Wells, who doubled to the wall in left field and rounded the base screaming in excitement at her bench.
She returned to the circle with that same intensity. Though an error allowed the Indians to cut the lead to 4-3, Wells sat them down in order in the sixth before her teammates added an insurance run.
Not that they would need it. Though Sequoyah-Tahlequah put the tying run on base in the seventh, Wells forced the Indians into consecutive popouts to end the game.
“I just trusted that if they hit something I had a solid defense behind me,” Wells said. “I knew they would make the play.”
Wells’ exuberant confidence was a stark contrast from Howard, who credited his senior leader for keeping his team calmer than he felt.
“It was an unbelievable performance,” he said. “We talk about faith, family, finding a role for everyone, and finishing. We came into this game not just to play, but to finish it. They stayed composed the entire game, and a lot of that goes back to Allison. It was a great example of what leaders do.”
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