Norman North v Lawton Mac Softball

Norman North Juliana Linares pitches the ball Friday during the Timberwolves’ game against Lawton Mac at Norman North High School.

After five games, Norman North softball coach Trey Palacol likes what he sees from his young team, particularly starting pitchers Juliana Linares and Laila King.

Linares, a sophomore, and King, a junior, threw no-hitters and flirted with perfect games Friday as the Timberwolves defeated Noble 4-0 and Lawton MacArthur 15-0 in pool play on the first day of the Norman Tournament at Norman North.

The T-Wolves (5-0) play Bridge Creek at 9 a.m. Saturday at Norman North. The winner plays the winner of the game between Guthrie and Harrah at 1:30 p.m.

For both pitchers, it was the second dominating performance of the week. On Monday, Linares allowed just one hit in five innings in a 10-0 win over Del City to kick off district play.

Linares “was one play away” from no-hitting the Eagles, Palacol said.

The T-Wolves traveled to Muskogee Tuesday and swept a pair of district games by 10-0 and 9-5. In the first game against Muskogee, King one-hit the Roughers and struck out 11 batters.

“Our biggest bright spot is probably the circle,” Palacol said. “Between Juliana and Laila, they’re going to keep us in ballgames. Those two alone are going to keep us in ballgames.”

Linares was perfect on the mound against Noble until a botched pop-up in the Bears’ last at-bat ended the bid.

“What we ask her to do is hit her spots, spin her ball, because that’s what she does really well, and she was able to do that today,” Palacol said.

In the second game Friday, the T-Wolves scored 15 runs in the first two innings against Lawton MacArthur in support of King, who didn’t need much.

The Norman High transfer didn’t allow a hit and struck out seven batters in three innings of work. She lost her shot at a perfect game when she hit a batter with a pitch.

Tigers underachieve in tournament play

Across town, Norman High opened the season in unspectacular fashion Friday, losing tournament games to Dibble 8-0 and Bartlesville 9-5 at the team’s softball complex.

The Tigers trailed 9-0 in the second game, but scored two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth before the game was called for time after 90 minutes.

Norman High plays Lawton MacArthur at 9 a.m. Saturday at Irving Middle School. The winner faces the winner of the game between Lawton and Noble at 1:30 p.m.

Despite Friday’s poor showing, second-year coach Daniel Wood isn’t ready to panic just yet.

“The big thing we try to emphasize right now is it’s early and we’re young, and as long as we are making strides and progressing every single game, we’re going to be in a good spot come October,” he said. “With us being so young, I think that’s the big thing ... we have to big picture it as much as we can.”

Another factor in the lopsided losses: The Tigers were playing without injured starters, outfielders Ally Jones and Myleigh Beard and catcher Raelynn Sandlin.

“We’re kind of fighting the injury bug right now,” he said. “Since practice started, that’s been the one thing that we’re trying to overcome.”

Norman High started a freshman and five sophomores, including pitcher Jenna Welch, against Dibble and things got away from the Tigers early. The Demons scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning off Welch in a game that was called for time after five innings.

Dibble starter Logan Pedersen was dominant, allowing just one hit (Ashtan Gainey) and striking out 11.

Against Bartlesville, the Tigers trailed 9-0 before their bats finally came to life in the fourth inning with a double by Pippa Werner to knock in a run. Candice Brice, Seilani Owens and Preslee Ray also drove in runs for Norman High.

 

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