By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
SHAWNEE — Brianna McArthur was just waiting on her opportunity. After a mistake by the Moore senior help allow Sand Springs to grab an early lead on her team, she hoped she would get a chance to redeem herself.
That moment came and McArthur delivered to help lead the Lions to a 6-2 comeback victory over the Sandites in the quarterfinals of the 6A state fast pitch championships at The Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee.
“Our key this year has always been just stay engaged,” MHS coach Stephanie Riley said. “Not pressing in situations we know we’re going to get out of. We had a error, they scored two runs. But we know life is going to happen. Things are going to happen on a ballfield. You just have to comeback and we did it.”
Moore saw itself fall behind early to Sand Springs. Pitcher Jenna Lewis didn’t have her normal control and McArthur misplayed a flyball that gave the Sandites a 2-0 first inning lead.
MHS got one run back in the bottom of the inning after Mallory Collins loaded the bases and Sierra Crick at the plate. Collins threw a wild pitch that went to the backstop and allowed Sable Hankins to score..
The Sandites had an opportunity to add to their 2-1 lead in the fourth when they had runners on second and third base and senior Kendra Franks at the plate. With a single she could put the Lions in some serious trouble.
However, Lewis struck Franks to keep the deficit one run.
“The key was basically not let the crowd get to me,” Lewis said. “Just pull it together for my team. Just breathing and keeping myself calm.”
Trailing 2-1 In the bottom of the sixth, the Lions finally got their bats swinging and put runners on first and third with no out. Caitlin Hall sent a ground ball up the middle that the Sand Springs shortstop was unable to control and a run scored to tie the game.
McArthur came to the plate with bases loaded and still no outs. The senior blasted a double to right field and knocked in two runs to give MHS a 4-2 advantage.
“I just felt I had to redeem myself from missing that ball in the first inning,” McArthur said. “I just wanted to come through for my team. And I did. It wasn’t on my mind. I just knew I had a job to do and I got it done.”
Riley said she had faith her senior would come through for the team.
“It was a situation I totally could have bunted Bri,” Riley said. “But I told her, you are in this situation for a reason. Get the job done. And she knew. She had one pitch, it was her pitch and she drove it.”
The Lions added two more runs to grab 6-2 advantage.
It was up to Lewis to close the game out in the top of the seventh.
Lewis got some help from McArthur, who made a diving catch in centerfield to get the leadoff batter out. Lewis got the last two batters to ground out and flyout to complete the comeback and pick up her 23rd win on the season.
Moore will face Mustang at noon Friday in the semifinals with a spot in the title game on the line.
“Now it’s a matter of who’s going to bring their A-game on the right day,” Riley said. “You don’t have time to have a B-game. It’s one and out and your done.”
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Southmoore rolled into Friday’s semifinals with a 3-0 win over Jenks. The SaberCats will play Broken Arrow, a 6-4 winner over Edmond North, at 2 p.m.