State tour­na­ments con­tinue

The sec­ond week of state tour­na­ments for fast-pitch soft­ball con­tin­ued Thurs­day with ev­ery­one hav­ing a com­mon goal of reach­ing Cham­pi­onship Satur­day.

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Ja­cob Unruh jun­ruh@ ok­la­homan.com

Makayla Jones twirled her bat and no­ticed the thick cap­i­tal let­ters writ­ten on her fore­arm. “BREATHE.”

She took that breath and waited for the ex­act pitch she liked. She didn’t miss.

As two runs scored from the hard-hit liner that went to the cen­ter­field fence, Jones be­came even more thank­ful for the ad­vice of her fa­ther and the hand­writ­ten mes­sage.

On a day nerves forced cru­cial er­rors and cost one team in a strong wind, it was a calm mo­ment that pro­pelled Perkins-Tryon past New­cas­tle 3-1 in Thurs­day's Class 4A state quar­ter­fi­nals at USA Soft­ball Hall of Fame Sta­dium.

“Real lucky and for­tu­nate,” Perkins-Tryon coach David Grif­fin said. “That’s a very good team we played. We talked about it’s go­ing to be who­ever makes the most mis­takes. We had our own mis­takes.”

But it would be New­cas­tle’s that changed the game.

The Rac­ers took a 1-0 lead in the bot­tom of the sixth on Bri­anna Lit­tle’s bases-loaded walk.

Perkins-Tryon play­ers were mostly up­set. Some cried in the dugout between in­nings. Some re­mained pos­i­tive. Then an un­likely sce­nario played out.

New­cas­tle pitcher McKen­zie Wag­nor dropped a pop-up with one out. Af­ter a sac­ri­fice bunt, Perkins-Tryon pitcher Brooke Field hit a pop-up to left that ap­peared des­tined to end the game. But two New­cas­tle de­fend­ers col­lided just enough that the ball fell out of their gloves, and fresh­man Ash­lyn Guer­ri­eri scored the ty­ing run.

Jones then stepped to the plate.

Ear­lier in the day her fa­ther, Todd, had no­ticed her prac­tice swings were up­tight. She wasn’t re­lax­ing. He told her to breathe and that maybe she should write a re­minder.

Makayla had for­got­ten about the word un­til that mo­ment. With the heavy wind killing fly balls all day, she wanted to hit a line drive.

And she did, chang­ing Perkins-Tryon’s course in the state tour­na­ment.

“All I could think was this at bat was for my team,” Jones said. “I’ve got to show my team that I’m still in it for them, that I haven’t gave up yet. It was there and done.”

BECKEL, THE OK­LA­HOMAN] [PHOTO BY JIM

Perkins-Tryon team­mates cel­e­brate af­ter Ash­lynn Guer­ri­eri scored a run in the sev­enth in­ning to tie the game 1-1 and keep their team from be­ing elim­i­nated from the Class 3A fast pitch soft­ball state tour­na­ment at Hall of Fame Sta­dium on Thurs­day.

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