Morris reaches semifinals after first-round upset

Morris senior Maddie James drives a pitch towards the outfield during the Lady Eagles’ Class 3A district tournament against Henryetta in Morris. James was one of five seniors to end their high school fastpitch softball careers in the Lady Eagles’ 7-4 loss to No. 6 Oktaha in last Friday’s semifinal round at the Class 3A state fastpitch softball tournament in Oklahoma City.
(Larry Owen, Times staff)

By LARRY OWEN

Times Sports Editor

 

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Morris Lady Eagles made their first fastpitch softball state tournament appearance since 2011 special by reaching the semifinals of the 3-day event last weekend at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Lady Eagles entered the 8-team tournament as the only unranked team and were given the task of taking on top-ranked Tahlequah Sequoyah in the quarterfinals last Thursday evening.

The Morris ladies proved to the other seven teams that they belonged in the state tournament, routing the Lady Indians 10-0 in six innings in last Thursday's final opening-round contest of the day.

The Lady Eagles looked poised to earn their fifth-consecutive win over a Class 3A Top 15 team last Friday afternoon, leading the sixth-ranked Oktaha Lady Tigers 4-2 after five innings of play in the final Class 3A semifinal game.

A pair of defensive miscues in the top of the sixth went from cheers to heartbreak, as Oktaha tallied three runs in the frame then added two more in the seventh to hand the Morris ladies the season-ending 7-4 defeat.

The Lady Eagles finish 2017 with a 23-13 record which included postseason wins over No. 1 Tahlequah Sequoyah, No. 4 Vian, No. 12 Heavener, and No. 13, and defending 3A champion, Chandler.

The heartbreaking semifinal loss to Oktaha last Friday also brought to a close the high school fastpitch softball careers of seniors Kamarie Wallace, Darrian Stockstill, Maddie James, and Desirae Tecumseh. Madyson Lewis was also a senior member of the Lady Eagle fastpitch team in 2017, but was unable to play due to an injury.

In last Thursday's quarterfinal showdown with the top-ranked Tahlequah Sequoyah Lady Indians, the Lady Eagles got the scoring started with a run in the top of the first. After a scoreless second, the Morris ladies tallied three runs in the top of the third for a 4-0 advantage.

The score remained at 4-0, in favor of the Lady Eagles, until the top of the sixth when Morris erupted for six runs in the frame for a commanding 10-0 advantage.

The Lady Eagles' 6-run sixth was capped off by a 3-run home run to center field by Kyzia Whisenhunt.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Indians had runners at second and third with two outs but the Tahlequah Sequoyah ladies were unable to tally any runs, as Camarie Lansdale got the final batter to fly out to Stockstill in right to end the game on the 10-run, mercy rule.

Lansdale went the distance in the circle for Morris to earn the pitching victory. The Morris right-hander gave up six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings of work.

In the bottom of the fifth, Lansdale worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out to keep the shutout intact. After a flyout to center began the inning, the next three hitters singled to load the bases with one out. Lansdale got the next two batters to pop up to Kamarie Wallace at short to end the threat.

The Lady Eagles scattered nine hits in the contest. Tecumseh (2 for 3, single, triple, 2 RBI) and Lyric Ward (2 for 3, single, double) led the way with two hits apiece. Besides Whisenhunt's 3-run home run in the sixth, the other base hits for the Morris squad came on a single by Mehenwa Williams, a double by Stockstill, triple by Wallace, and an RBI double by Treysa Clay.

Other baserunners against Tahlequah Sequoyah were Wallace (error), Clay (error), Stockstill (2 fielder's choices), Whisenhunt (hit by pitch), and Tecumseh (hit by pitch).

In last Friday's semifinal meeting with Oktaha, the Lady Tigers opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first. The Lady Eagles made it a 2-1 contest with a run in the home half of the inning.

After the next inning and a half went scoreless, the Morris ladies took over the lead at 3-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third.

The Lady Eagles made it a 4-2 contest with a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Oktaha took advantage of a pair of Morris defensive miscues in the top of the sixth to score three runs in the frame and retake the lead at 5-4.

The Lady Tigers tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-4 margin.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Eagles attempted to overcome the 3-run deficit, but were unable to produce any runs in their final at-bat, falling by a 7-4 decision.

Lansdale was saddled with the pitching loss for Morris, allowing seven runs on nine hits with five walks and three strikeouts in seven innings of work.

The top hitter for the Lady Eagles was Tecumseh with a 2-for-4 performance. Tecumseh had a pair of singles and an RBI in her four plate appearances.

The other base hits for Morris came on singles by Wallace, Stockstill, and Whisenhunt, and a double by Williams.

Other baserunners against Oktaha were Wallace (walk, error), Whisenhunt (2 walks, error), Stockstill (error), and April Rice (error).

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Class 3A State Tournament

Quarterfinals

Morris 10, Tahlequah Sequoyah 0

Morris     - 1 - 0 - 3 - 0 - 0 - 6 10 - 9 - 1

Sequoyah - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0   0 - 6 - 2

Winning Pitcher: Camarie Lansdale

Losing Pitcher: Madi Joice

Home Runs: Morris: Kyzia Whisenhunt

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Semifinals

Oktaha 7, Morris 4

Oktaha - 2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 3 - 2 7 - 9 - 4

Morris  - 1 - 0 - 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 4 - 6 - 3

Winning Pitcher: Gracie Dickson

Losing Pitcher: Camarie Lansdale

Home Runs: None

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Class 3A State Tournament

Quarterfinals

Washington 9, Prague 5

Purcell 6, Verdigris 5

Oktaha 8, Kellyville 3

Morris 10, Tahlequah Sequoyah 0

Semifinals

Oktaha 7, Morris 4

Purcell 6, Washington 5; 14 innings

Championship

Purcell 12, Oktaha 1

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