Despite opening up a 4-0 lead in the early going, Bethel’s Lady Wildcats were knocked out of title contention Wednesday with a 16-6 loss to Purcell in the Class 5A state quarterfinals at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Purcell, ranked first in 5A, took the lead for good with a six-run bottom of the third. The Lady Dragons added five more in the bottom of the fourth, then out-scored Bethel 3-2 in the fifth.
Purcell scored twice more in the bottom of the sixth to effect the run rule.
Bethel was out-hit 18-11, and the Lady Wildcats suffered from four errors.
The Lady Wildcats ended the regular season ranked 10th and won 10 of their final 12 games.
“I’m super proud of them,” said Bethel coach Casey Brewer. “Two weeks ago we were 8-8, and we finish 18-10 and make it to the state tournament. They really responded and stepped it up when they needed to.”
Bethel’s Tayler Short went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple, and Cati Caro was 1-for-2 with an RBI triple. Tariah Brooking notched a run-scoring double, and Rachel Wade and Ashley Elmore combined for five singles.
Purcell went on Wednesday to fall 6-5 to eventual champion Cache. Cache topped Sequoyah-Tahlequah in the quarterfinals, 6-5, and hammered Henryetta 13-1 in the championship bout.
Henryetta reached the finals with a 12-8 win over Valliant in the quarterfinals and an 8-3 win over Berryhill in the semis.
Brewer and the Lady Wildcats lose three seniors — Short, Caro and Brooking.
“I’m going to miss the seniors… three good kids and good players,” Brewer said.
Note: Report compiled by Jason Smith.