By Andrew Glover
MORRISON, Okla. —
The Morrison Lady Wildcats and the Agra Lady Bearcats left several runners on base but ultimately the Lady Wildcats cashed in during the bottom of the sixth in a 6-1 victory Tuesday at Morrison Lion Club’s Park.
“It seemed like a struggle most of the day to get those runners in,” Morrison coach Tim Hatter said. “We had people early on. Towards the end we had a big inning.”
The Lady Bearcats were missing a key player as Amber Austin has been out the last week and a half with tonsillitis but will return Wednesday. Agra coach Brooke Simms said she has had to shuffle her lineup.
“Everyone is playing new positions,” Simms said. “A sophomore picked it up and she’s pitching. We were having to adjust.”
Whitney Herrman started in the circle for Agra and for the most part held Morrison in check as she only allowed two runs through five innings and struck out eight. Hit batters and wild pitches hurt Herrman as she hit three and threw four wild pitches.
Jacey Bales started for the Lady Wildcats and struggled finding the strike zone as she walked six batters and hit four. Morrison played good defense behind Bales to help get her out of jams. Shortstop Jamie Lovely and left fielder Shana Walls made several key catches with some preventing Agra from scoring.
“Defense was a big thing,” Walls said. “The infield helped out a lot. We did the best we could in the outfield. We worked as a team.”
The Lady Wildcats (9-8) took the lead in the first. Bales led off by being hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice bunt and a dropped third strike. A passed ball allowed Bales to race home to give Morrison a 1-0 lead.
Agra had plenty of chances to at least tie the game or take the lead. In the top of the second, the Lady Bearcats’ first two batters reached as Laci Cartmell was hit by a pitch and Reanna Reedy singled to left. Walls ended Agra’s threat as she caught two fly balls.
Morrison threatened in the bottom half with runners on the corners with two outs. Kelsey Pennington reached when Cartmell threw the ball over the glove of first baseman Aspen Howard. Brittany Coleman reached on an error by Herrman, allowing Pennington to advance to third. Bales flied out to Agra’s Layla Hutchinson to end the inning.
In the third inning, the Lady Bearcats had a runner on third with no outs as Corbin Larsen led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a ball that was thrown into the outfield by Morrison catcher Kalie Vernon. Three fly outs — one to Walls and two to Lovely — ended the inning. Agra tried to rally with two outs as Allison Peterson hit a double down the line in right field and Larsen followed with a walk. The inning ended as Hutchinson grounded into a fielder’s choice with Peterson out at third.
Morrison expanded its lead by taking advantage of Agra miscues. Hailey Graham led off with a single on a line drive to center. Liz Harshburger bunted to Herrman, who threw the ball into right field, allowing Graham to score and Harshburger to reach second. The Lady Wildcats stranded runners at second and third when Vernon struck out.
The Lady Bearcats finally got on the board in the top of the fifth. Howard led off with a single. With one out, Cartmell singled to left. After Reanna Reedy grounded into a fielder’s choice. Holly Imry hit a fly ball to center to score Cartmell and advanced Reedy to third. The inning ended when Korn grounded out to short. The next inning, Agra had a chance to tie the game with runners on second and third with one out. Larsen tried to advance on a grounder and was thrown out at the plate.
Simms said her team hit Bales better than they did in August during a 2-1 loss in Morrison.
“We’ve totally broken down all their swings,” Simms said. “We changed everything that they know. ... That’s the best we’ve hit the ball in the right direction. Now it’s putting hips, hands and putting them all in motion everytime. That’s the best we’ve swung all year.”
The next half inning the Lady Wildcats took advantage. With two outs and the bases loaded, Vernon hit a line drive to center field and scored Harshburger and Coleman to give Morrison a 4-1 lead. The Lady Wildcats added two more runs on wild pitches.
The Lady Wildcats travel to Enid for the Highway 81 Classic starting Thursday. The Lady Bearcats (7-12) will play Carney at 10 a.m. Thursday in the conference tournament at Coyle.