By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Carl Albert had high hopes for the Class 5A softball state tournament.
Unfortunately for the Lady Titans, those aspirations didn’t materialize.
Coweta topped Carl Albert 6-1 in the first round of the state tournament Thursday afternoon at the Ball Fields at FireLake in Shawnee.
The normally hot-hitting Lady Titans (24-8) struggled to get their offense rolling as they racked up only three hits. It was only the fourth time this season that they have scored one or fewer runs.
They also committed four errors in the field.
“We definitely didn’t play our best,” said coach Garrett Wages. “We made too many mistakes in the field and we can’t do that against good teams. They’ll find a way to capitalize off those mistakes and manufacture those runs, and that’s what Coweta did on Thursday.”
The Lady Tigers struck first with a leadoff home run by Chaney Helton in the bottom of the first inning.
Carl Albert briefly tied the game in the third inning. AJ Bennett hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Londyn McNair. Ausha Moore later hit a line drive to right field, scoring Bennett for a 1-1 score.
Coweta (15-19) regained the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Graycee Graham scored on a sacrifice fly. Things could have been much worse as the Lady Tigers then loaded the bases on a double, error and a walk. Kynlee Sutton got the next batter to fly out to left to end the threat.
Carl Albert couldn’t get anything going offensively. They stranded a pair of runners in the fifth and went down in order in the sixth.
The Lady Tigers added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Helton hit an RBI single, and Tayen Allen later cleared the bases with a three-run double for a 6-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, McNair was hit by a pitch with two outs. Coweta got the next batter to fly out to end the game.
Bailey Rusche was 1 for 3 with a double. Moore was 1 for 2 with an RBI and an intentional walk. Bennett had the team’s only other hit.
Madison Ethridge started the game and allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk. Sutton allowed four runs on 2 ½ innings of relief.
“Overall, I’m proud of the girls on the season,” Wages said. “I know it isn’t the result we intended on, but they fought to get there and played their hardest to the last out was made.”
Wages commended his senior class on continuing to raise the bar.
“This group of seniors is a special group. They left a great mark on the program here at CA. They’ve adapted to three different head coaches over their time at CA and have dealt with so much adversity. All of them need to be proud of how they’ve grown not only as a softball player, but as a person,” Wages said.
Coweta lost to Guthrie in the state semifinals on Friday. Piedmont then rallied to beat Guthrie 3-2 in the 5A state championship Saturday. It is the Lady Wildcats’ third straight title.