Coach Jamie Roberts’ softball troupe did some thinking outside the box last week, facing all 6A schools in the Chickasha Tournament.
After dispatching Lexington last Tuesday in an 11-0 shutout, Purcell set its sights squarely on Class 6A with the likes of Norman North, Moore, Lawton and Stillwater looming.
In the Lexington victory, Cudd fashioned a three-hitter, while fanning five Lady Bulldogs.
Purcell gathered eight total hits with Kaylin Taylor and Bailee McGowen leading the way with 2-4 performances.
McGowen was the Dragons’ welcome wagon, single handly knocking four RBIs. Morgan Lathan and McKenna Eubank were both 1-2 in the game.
“Anytime you throw a shut out you’ve done well,” Roberts said of Cudd’s performance in the circle.
Then came murderer’s row.
Purcell started off the tournament posting a 6-4 victory over Norman North riding the arm of senior hurler Eubank. She struck out a pair of Lady Timberwolves and scattered seven hits.
Purcell’s bats were alive, rocking North pitching for 12 hits led by Eubank’s 3-4 performance. Taylor was 2-4 while Jazmine Koerner went 2-3.
Then came top ranked Moore, a game Roberts said her club probably should have won but came up on the short end of a 2-1 count.
Purcell scratched in the top of the fifth and held that 1-zip lead all the way to the bottom of the fifth with Cudd keeping the mighty Lady Lion hitters at bay.
“In my opinion, Emily really pitched her best gave of the season,” Roberts said. “She had six really good innings against a powerful lineup.”
But it was the bottom of the fifth where errors and walks contributed to the eventual one-run loss.
Two base runners for Moore were aboard with two out. A routine ground ball was hit to shortstop, Roberts reported.
But, she said, instead of throwing to first and ending the inning with the nine hole hitter, the ball is thrown to third where the surprised Brece Hamman missed the tag.
Moore tied the score on a base-stealing event when a throw down to second ends in a Lady Lion Run.
A bloop fly to center that was mishandled ended in the winning run crossing the plate.
“We really blew that game,” Roberts confirmed.
“It was frustrating because Emily had thrown so well. It was a great game,” she continued. “We had three hits, two by Taylor. Cudd started off the fourth inning with a double but we could not do anything with it.”
Purcell had two sacrifice bunts that ended up as pop outs to the catcher.
“Their pitcher was really good and could spin the ball. That’s why we had the two pop ups,” Roberts said.
Up next was an 8-0 whitewashing of Lawton High School in extremely hot conditions.
Eubank and Cudd combined to toss a one-hitter at the Lady Wolverines. Eubank started and got the victory in the circle.
She went three innings before turning the rock over to Cudd for the final two frames.
Purcell only had three hits but they were dandies. The Dragons were able to keep pressure on the Lady Wolverines scoring one in the first, four in the second and three in the third.
The big second inning effort, Jazmine Koerner doubled to score Hamman, who had singled her way on base. Taylor walked setting the tables for a legitimate Eubank in-the-park home run.
“Their fences were 225 and there were no over throws,” Roberts said of three-run rope to left field.
Purcell turned right around after a 30-minute break to face the Lady Pioneers of Stillwater.
Roberts called it an exciting 5-3 victory for the Dragons but admitted they were a bit sluggish.
Mary Pollok and Koerner proved to be the spark in the fifth inning when Purcell fought back from a one-love deficit to take a 2-1 lead it would never relinquish.
Pollok ripped a triple with one out in the frame followed by a Koerner rope to left for a run-scoring double. After Koerner was thrown out at third, Taylor Dickerson pinch hit to give Purcell another base runner.
Echo Ackerman had re-entered and was running the bases when Taylor’s bloop infield hit scored
Echo, giving Purcell the lead.
Roberts wasn’t pleased with the Dragon bats in the contest.
“We struck out five times against pitching that wasn’t that strong,” she said.
“We were sloppy but maybe that was due to it being the fourth game of the weekend and we ate during the break.
“But we found a way to win,” Roberts said. “Mary Pollok came up big with that hit in the fifth along with Taylor Dickerson.”
Stillwater scored their runs in the bottom of the sixth after a trio of walks and a couple of errors at first base.
But the Dragons held on and now stand 26-8 on the season.
“We played well in two games and not so well in two games,” Roberts said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t have won them all.
“We’ve got to find ways to minimize our mental and physical mistakes for the playoffs.”
Purcell was to host Carl Albert Tuesday night for Senior night and will host Noble today (Thursday) in a game to make up for the loss of district games.
“We’ll have plenty of days for practice to clean up our defensive short comings,” the coach said.
Emily Cudd is now 15-4 inside the circle while McKenna Eubank is 11-4.
The Dragons, who earned a bye this week in the District Tournament will learn who they play next week in the Regional Tournament on Monday.
Purcell, 26-8 on the season, is currently ranked 6 in Class 4A.