A sacrifice bunt put Savanna within 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but Erin Harris kept her cool — even with the tying run perched at third.
The Dale freshman threw three straight strikes to end the threat, and the Lady Pirates lived up to their No. 1 status by claiming the Class 2A fast-pitch state title Saturday at the Ball Fields at FireLake in Shawnee.
It’s Dale’s second fast-pitch trophy, and first under head coach Andy Powell.
“It was just a dream season,” said Powell, whose crew finished at 40-1. “It’s something we won’t ever forget. It’s pretty unbelievable.”
Dale’s only loss — and by a thin margin of just 9-8 — came in late August against Henryetta. Since then, the Lady Pirates made good on their No. 1 rank by winning 31 straight.
“It was a total team effort, and I’m so proud of them,” Powell said.
Dale was hit hard by graduation at the end of the 2012-13 school year, losing six. It certainly seems, however, that the younger players are stepping into their roles.
Harris, looking straight ahead, didn’t mince words when talking about her mindset.
“I was trying to get the ball over the plate… to hit that outside corner to get the strikeout for our team,” she said.
Dale led 3-1 to start the seventh, thanks to a couple of huge hits early. Jaelin Flewallen doubled home the first run in the bottom of the first, and Lacey Hood clubbed a two-run home run in the third.
Flewallen also recorded a single in Dale’s six-hit offense.
Things unraveled only slightly when Harris walked the first two batters in the top of the seventh, and the Lady Pirates had to trade a run for an out on the ensuing bunt. That’s when Harris “hit that outside corner” for her 11th strikeout of the game.
“I don’t know if she was nervous or not, but that is untypical of her to walk two in a row,” Powell said. “But, she reeled it in and got the job done.”
Harris ends the season at 23-1 in the circle. All total Saturday, she walked four batters and surrendered just three hits.
Page 2 of 2 -
Harris was the winning hurler in all three of Dale’s state tourney contests. The Lady Pirates crushed Hinton 10-1 in the quarterfinals as Harris gave up one run on three hits in six innings. She struck out seven and didn’t allow a walk, and in an 11-3 win over Colbert in Friday’s semifinals, she fanned seven and walked one while giving up six hits.
Winning a state title “feels amazing,” Harris said.
“There’s no other feeling in the world that can compare to this.”
This is Powell’s second championship with the Dale girls… the first being a 2012 slow-pitch title.
Note: Report compiled by Jason Smith.