Tecumseh slow pitch squad punches ticket to state

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Tecumseh's Ayzia Shirey launches a triple to right field Friday against Blanchard in Class 5A regional slow pitch softball action.
Tecumseh catcher Blakeley Sanchez catches a pop-up in foul territory against Blanchard Friday in Class 5A regional slow pitch softball play.

TECUMSEH - Big innings, not necessarily hitting consistency, reigned supreme Friday for the Tecumseh Lady Savages.

It was enough for them to punch their ticket to the Class 5A State Slow Pitch Softball Tournament which begins Tuesday at the Ballfields at FireLake in Shawnee.

The Lady Savages will face Kingston at 10 a.m.

Tecumseh scored eight first-inning runs and held on for a 13-10 decision over Blanchard in its regional opener and then tallied six runs in the sixth, the final of which came in walk-off fashion, to break open a close game and secure a 14-4 victory over Heavener in the regional finals.

Tecumseh 14, Heavener 4 (Regional Championship)

The Lady Savages' most productive inning was the sixth and final frame.

Highlights included a Taylor Frizzell sacrifice fly to right field, Blakeley Sanchez two-run single to left-center, Ayzia Shirey RBI triple to right, Bristin Hayes run-scoring double to left-center and Katelyn Fleming's walk-off RBI double to center to end the game on the 10-run rule.

Shirey's defensive play in center field was critical to Tecumseh's fortunes as she laid out for two magnificent diving catches in the fifth and sixth innings to help stem some offensive highlights by Heavener.

Fleming's 3-for-4 performance included two doubles and three runs batted in. Shirey, Harley Sturm, Lacy Howell and Sanchez each collected two hits as Tecumseh pounded out 13 for the game.

Shirey, Howell and Sanchez were each 2-for-3 and Sturm ended up 2-for-4. Sturm homered in the third to left field off a two-run shot. Howell hit a triple and double while knocking in a run. Sanchez had the two-run single in the sixth.

The Lady Savages scored three times in the first inning off a Fleming run-scoring single to left-center, Lauren Taylor sacrifice fly to center and Howell's RBI double.

Heavener pulled within 3-2 with a pair of scores in the third, but Tecumseh countered with Sturm's two-run blast to left field, making it 5-2.

An RBI single and sacrifice fly pulled the visitors within 5-4 in the fourth inning. But with the help of three Heavener errors, the Lady Savages picked up two more scores, highlighted by Fleming's run-scoring single, in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-4.

Then came the huge sixth in which Tecumseh put the game away.

Frizzell scattered seven hits in securing the pitching win.

Tecumseh 13, Blanchard 10 (Regional opener)

An eight-run, eight-hit first inning enabled the Lady Savages to take control early.

The Lady Lions tried to stay in contention and scored four in the second. Tecumseh later picked up three in the third to make it 11-4. A five-run fourth got Blanchard to within 11-9.

But the Lady Savages answered each time. Sturm led off the fourth with a double to left-center, reached third on Fleming's infield single and scored off Taylor's sacrifice fly to center for a 12-9 Tecumseh lead.

Taylor's two-out RBI single made it 13-9 in the sixth.

The Lady Lions picked up one score in the seventh, but it was too short as Tecumseh held on.

Taylor Gage's 3-for-3 effort with one RBI sparked the Lady Savages' 19-hit attack. Eight other Tecumseh players – Shirey, Hayes, Sturm, Fleming, Taylor, Serenity Jacoway, Cadence Oliver and Sanchez - had two hits each. Sanchez picked up four RBIs off her two doubles. Taylor, Jacoway and Oliver ended up with two runs batted in each.

Blanchard totaled 13 hits and committed two errors. Tecumseh had only one miscue.