It took two games and 14 innings, but the District 5-AA tournament, which had come down to a matchup between two county rivals, was finally finished.
With the final out of the second game of the night, on May 9, the Sequoyah Lady Chiefs burst out of their dugout in celebration as the team claimed the district tournament championship 10-6 over the Sweetwater Lady Wildcats.
Sweetwater won the first game 7-5, but since double elimination was required and Sequoyah hadn’t been beaten yet in the tournament, the Lady Chiefs’ win in the second, winner-take-all contest sealed their title claim.
“We played 14 innings of ball tonight and there was two teams here battled their butts off,” Roberts said. “Both teams played great. Represent this district well. This is a tough district and (Sweetwater) is good, (Sequoyah) is good and I think we’ll play next Wednesday.
“I’d be surprised if one of us gets knocked out on Monday night, first round of the regions.”
And it was a situation Sequoyah had prepared for.
“We talked about that last night at practice,” Roberts said. “If it goes wrong in the first one, we’ve got to come back in the second one. I’m so proud of them. They turned back (in) the first inning of the second game just like we hadn’t lost the first one.”
Sweetwater 7, Sequoyah 5
Sequoyah pushed three runs across in the first and third innings, using two RBIs from Abbey Borden and one from Tristan Bradley, but a Mari Robbins two-run homer cut the deficit to just one run for Sweetwater in the bottom of the third.
Macy Miner scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth to put Sequoyah’s lead at 4-2, while the Lady Wildcats responded with a Robbins score on a sac fly, followed by a solo homer by the Lady Chiefs’ Maycee Bovard to force a Sweetwater pitching change.
RBIs from Robbins, Addie Lowe, Ally Starnes and Abby Starnes in a bases-loaded, no-outs situation gave the Lady Wildcats the lead at 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the eventual final score of the game.
“I’m proud of my girls,” Sweetwater head coach Sarah Davies said. “We showed a lot of class tonight. We didn’t let adversity get the best of us and I think we really showed up and I’m proud of them.”
The Lady Wildcats, though would run into a major obstacle as the games carried on.
“We just hit fatigue,” Davies said. “Emily (Barnes) has carried us on the mound for I don’t even know how many games, 30 some-odd games, so far. Fatigue has set in a little bit. Addie (Lowe) is coming back and she’s trying to get back in that pitching zone that we’re so used to seeing her (in).
“And it will come. But you sit out for a month, you don’t pitch a single ball for a month, it’s going to be hard to come back. I thought they both did a great job tonight.”
Sequoyah 10, Sweetwater 6
Although it dropped the first game of the night, Sequoyah left no doubt in the second.
The Lady Chiefs got to work early, with Olivia Underwood and Borden both notching RBIs in the top of the first inning. The Lady Wildcats, though, tied the game with an Ally Starnes two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.
During the bottom of the second, a two-RBI double from Ally Starnes gave Sweetwater a 4-2 lead, but Sequoyah went up 8-4 with a huge top of the fourth, loading the bases with no outs initially and seeing RBIs from Bovard, Kadence Brewer and Kinsey Phenix and a score on an pitch past the catcher by Underwood.
Kylie Hicks scored Ally Starnes with a sacrifice groundout, but two more Sequoyah runs from Bovard and Underwood essentially sealed the deal for the Lady Chiefs. A final Sweetwater run on a triple by Ally Starnes, but a lack of offense afterward, gave the game its final score line.
“My little freshman pitcher (Kadence Brewer) come in that second game, got a little rattled there at first … but after that she shut them down and just played great,” Roberts said. “And I’m proud of her.”
Don’t expect this to be the final word for the Lady Wildcats, though.
“We play much better when we’re the underdog,” Davies said. “When we won district two years ago, we were the underdog … This year, we were the favorite by far. We ran through regular season district. We like to claw back. We like to fight back. We like to be the underdog.
“And right now we are. We’ll go in to region, we’re going to regroup this weekend, practice hard tomorrow, make some adjustments and we’ll get it done. We didn’t win it last year and we still went to state.”