Lauryn McLaughlin nearly threw a no-hitter Thursday night at Couch Park.
She was just a single hit away from blanking Enid.
In the 10-0 run-ruled victory, the Stillwater High senior pitcher allowed only four runners on base. One of those came from an error, and the other two came from a walk and fielder’s choice.
McLaughlin struck out six batters in the five-inning contest. She was happy the Lady Pioneers ended a three-game losing skid – two of which were run-ruled losses.
“This win feels good,” McLaughlin said. “We came out here and we played ball, and had a great time.”
SHS coach Karie Linsenmeyer agreed, saying her team came ready to play against a team it defeated 14-3 just 10 days prior.
“Less mistakes defensively,” Linsenmeyer said. “We had two errors and that’s a lot better than four, five or six. We had some pretty good approaches at the plate. We capitalized when we had baserunners on, and that’s what we need to do. Lauryn did a good job pitching.”
Stillwater committed seven errors in Tuesday’s run-ruled loss to Piedmont. Linsenmeyer wanted her team to focus at practice Wednesday, and her message was received.
“A lot of running,” McLaughlin said. “We started cheering a lot and being more into the game. Coach wants us to do our best and cheer for each other.”
Linsenmeyer clarified the running wasn’t for a poor game Tuesday, but more related to practice.
“I don’t think the running was punishment,” Linsenmeyer said. “It was more about hustle and focus. We did a lot of situational things that required us not making mistakes, and when we made mistakes, we had to run for them. It’s not really a punishment for playing poorly. It’s just to try and refocus.”
Thursday’s contest nearly began disastrously for Stillwater. The leadoff batter of the game hit an infield pop fly, but the ball was dropped by Stillwater third baseman Makenzi Swick.
Enid’s Keelah Williams stole second during the next at-bat, but the throw from SHS catcher Sidney McLaughlin was wide to second base. As the ball rolled into center field, Williams sprinted to third base.
Two batters later, Kylee Stanley was walked and advanced to third on a groundout. Momentum swung – with two runners in scoring position – Lauryn McLaughlin struck out Kimbree Layton to end the Pacers’ threat.
“She did great,” Linsenmeyer said. “She threw strikes. She got strikeouts when we needed strikeouts. I think she gave up one hit, so you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Enid (2-12) never threatened to score again. No batter reached base during the next two innings. The lone hit of the game came with one out. Mary Ketterman hit a single through the middle, but was thrown out during the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice.
“I was happy with how I threw,” McLaughlin said. “I felt like I did good. I’m ready for more.”
Offensively, Stillwater (5-6) scored runs in all four innings it came to the plate. After a pair of leadoff walks in the first inning, Lyric Perry delivered a two-run double that scored Sidney McLaughlin and Kendyl Prichard.
An inning later, Stillwater increased its lead to 6-0. After a walk, wild pitch and fly out, Colbee Westbrook reached base on an Enid throwing error to first base. Alex Griffin scored on the play.
One batter later, Sidney McLaughlin hit an RBI triple to the left-field corner. She and Prichard later scored as the Lady Pioneers took control of the game.
In the third inning, Erika Baldwin blasted a solo home run that was a line drive bomb over the center-field wall. Stillwater added another run on an RBI double from Kaylee Linsenmeyer after another Enid error allowed a base runner to reach second base.
“She needs that,” Linsenmeyer said of Baldwin. “She had a nice hit.”
Stillwater scored its final two runs – and made the run-rule possible – in the fourth inning after an out and walk. Lauryn McLaughlin hit a pinch-hit single, and Haylee Kinsey courtesy ran for her.
Kinsey advanced to third when Kyra Shores popped up to right field, but the Enid outfielder dropped the routine catch. Kinsey crossed the plate on a wild pitch to record the necessary 10th run.
The Lady Pioneers will play in the Choctaw Tournament this weekend. They will play Shawnee and Sand Springs today, beginning at 4:30 p.m., with three more games Saturday.
Follow News Press sports reporter Jimmy Gillispie on Twitter @jgillispie_stw for updates on Stillwater High athletics.