By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Carl Albert needed something to spark their offense last Wednesday.
The Lady Titans trailed Duncan early in a Class 5A regional championship game.
Oddly enough, the answer came from their defense.
In the top of the third inning, seniors Kaylee Davis and Ausha Moore each made a diving catch that energized the home dugout.
Once the Carl Albert girls started hitting, they never stopped. The Lady Titans reeled off 11 unanswered runs for an 11-1 victory in the regional final.
“Momentum really changed when Ausha (Moore) and Kaylee (Davis) made those plays,” said senior Shelby Rusche. “That brought energy back to us and got our offense going. We started keeping the ball low and making them (Duncan) work for it.”
Coach Garrett Wages was thrilled with his team’s effort and resolve.
“There is a standard here of going to the state tournament,” Wages said. “With these girls, it wasn’t a hard task. They knew the mission since day one and they’ve lived up to it.”
He has high expectations heading into the state tournament which will be played Oct. 12-14.
“This group has potential to win the state championship and that’s been my mission since day one,” he said. “They’re talented enough to do it. We’re playing super well and have all of the momentum.”
Carl Albert went 3-0 in the regional tournament, while outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 33-1. They beat Lawton Eisenhower and Duncan on the first day of the tournament.
It is the school’s 15th straight appearance at state. The Lady Titans won back-to-back state titles in 2017-18.
In the regional championship, Duncan struck first with one run in the first inning. That lead held until the fourth inning when the Lady Titans pushed two runs across the board.
Freshman Journi LaValley tied the game with an RBI single. Senior Londyn McNair then gave Carl Albert its first lead on a single to right, scoring LaValley for a 2-1 lead.
“Duncan’s pitcher is pretty good and it’s hard to beat a team twice in less than 24 hours,” Moore said. “Once we got that first run across the plate, we knew we’d do it. We knew what was at stake and no one wanted to play another game.”
Carl Albert added six more runs in the fifth. AJ Bennett and McNair each drove in two runs, and Bailey Rusche and Moore hit RBI singles for an 8-1 lead.
They scored three in the sixth for the mercy-rule victory. Bailey Rusche doubled in a run and Bennett lined an RBI single to right, making it a 10-1 score. Moore followed with a single to left field, scoring LaValley for the final run.
Kynlee Sutton earned the win in the circle. She allowed one earned run on seven hits.
Carl Albert beat Eisenhower 12-0 in the first round. Bailey Rusche and Reser each drove in three runs. Haylee Ringwald earned the win in the circle after allowing two hits with four strikeouts.
In the first game against Duncan, Davis, Shelby and Bailey Rusche each had two hits in the 10-0 win. Madison Ethridge tossed a four-hit shutout.