Tecumseh falls in slow pitch finals

Keven Scrutchins
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Tecumseh's Bristin Hayes (left) fires the ball to first base for the out against Kingston Wednesday in the first round of the Class 5A State Slow Pitch Tournament.

So, so close. The Tecumseh Lady Savages fell just short of a Class 5A State Slow Pitch Softball Tournament title Wednesday with a 10-8 championship game loss to the Broken Bow Lady Savages at the Ballfields at Firelake.

Tecumseh started the day with a 16-0 shutout of Kingston, then scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to down Sulphur in the semifinals, before falling to Broken Bow.

The championship clash was tight throughout the seven innings of play and came down to the last at-bat of the night. The Lady Savages trailed the entire game until the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Tecumseh scored three runs on two hits and an error to grab a 7-6 lead heading into the final frame of the night. Katelyn Fleming doubled to left and Lauren Taylor reached first on an error in left field. That set up Serenity Jacoway, who sent the pitch over the left-center wall, scoring three runs and giving the Lady Savages their first lead of 7-6 heading into the seventh inning.

Broken Bow answered in convincing fashion, scoring four runs on five hits in the top of the seventh to take a 10-7 lead into the final at-bat. Leilani Taylor provided the bulk of the fireworks with a three-run blast over the center field wall. Broken Bow added its final run three batters later on an RBI single by Bailee Victory.

Tecumseh had a final shot in the bottom of the seventh and when the No. 9 and No. 10 hole hitters (Cadence Oliver and Blakely Sanchez) got on base, the future looked very bright.

“I really thought when our nine and 10-hole hitters got on base that we would win it,” said Tecumseh head coach Perry Wilson.

Broken Bow had a different plan.

Ayzia Shirey and Bristin Hayes each, the lead-off and second hitters for Tecumseh, hit lazer-sharp line drives that were turned into outs by the other Lady Savages and put Tecumseh’s back against the wall. Harley Sturm delivered an RBI single to left to cut the deficit to 10-8 with two outs. Fleming then came to the plate, representing the winning run, but flew out to the Broken Bow outfield to end the game and a crazy good season for Tecumseh.

“We had a great season and this is a great group of seniors,” said Wilson. “Harley (Sturm), Ayzia (Shirey), Lacy (Howell), and Taylor (Frizzell) have all been great leaders for us.”

Tecumseh 16, Kingston 0 (First Round)

The Lady Savages wasted little time in setting the tone in their first game of the day against Kingston.

Tecumseh scored six runs on seven hits in the first at-bat of the day. Hayes hit a two-run homer to left field and Howell added an RBI single to center. Taylor Gage drove in two runs on a beauty of a double to right field and Frizzell scored another run on a double to center.

Tecumseh made it look even easier in the top of the second, scoring 10 runs on 13 hits, taking a 16-0 lead into the bottom of the second. Shirey and Hayes opened the inning with back-to-back solo home runs. Howell added a two-run homer to left field. Jacoway then tripled to center field and Taylor Gage brought her home on a sacrifice fly. Later in the frame, Shirey drove in two runs on a single to right and Hayes sent her home with an RBI single to left.

The Tecumseh defense was equally impressive, holding Kingston to a two-hit shutout in the three-inning run rule.

Tecumseh 12, Sulphur 11 (Semifinals)

Trailing 11-7 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Savages rallied to earn a spot in the title tilt.

Sanchez led off the inning with a single to center field before Shirey singled to center. That set up a Hayes three-run blast over the left-field fence. Sturm then singled and Fleming doubled off of the center-field wall, all done with no outs. Sulphur then intentionally walked Taylor, trying to set up force outs at every base. Howell answered with a game-tying RBI single to center and Jacoway ended the game with an RBI sacrifice fly to center field.

Tecumseh scored five first-inning runs to go up 5-1 over the lady Bulldogs. Shirey led off with a homer to right-center and Hayes singled to left. Sturm then went deep to left-center, scoring two more runs. Jacoway scored Tecumseh’s fourth run on a sacrifice fly RBI and Gage drove in the fifth run on a single to right.

Sulphur had a very brief 1-0 lead after the top of the inning on an Ally Dixon lead-off home run.

The game remained at 5-1 in favor ofTecumseh until the fourth inning. Sulphur’s bats were flaming hot and the Lady Bulldogs scored eight runs on nine hits to take a 9-5 lead into the fifth. The Lady Bulldogs added another run in the fifth to go up 10-5 after 4 ½ innings.

Tecumseh chipped away at the Sulphur lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Shirey homered to right-center and Fleming drove in the second run on a fielder’s choice by the Lady Bulldogs infield.

Sulphur added a run to go up 11-7 with one inning left to play.

A three-up, three-down inning by the Tecumseh defense set up its come-from-behind win in the bottom of the seventh. The Lady Savages needed five runs for the win and accomplished just that.

Sanchez led off with a single to center, Shirey followed suit with another single. That sent Hayes to the dish as she smacked a three-run home run to left field, cutting the Sulphur lead to 11-10 with no outs to be found.

Sturm restarted the rally with a single to center and went to third on a double off by Fleming off the wall in center. Sulphur intentionally walked Taylor to load the bases. Howell then tied the game at 11-11 on a RBI single to center. That kept the bases juiced and Jacoway then delivered the sacrifice deep-fly to center field to send Tecumseh into the championship game with three outs to spare.