By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
For anyone watching the MLB postseason, they have seen pitchers dominate almost every game. Each night the old adage, “good hitting beats good pitching” seems to be on display.
Moore High and Southmoore hopes that counts for them also as they head into the 6A state fast pitch tournament today at The Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee. With Jenna Lewis and Katelyn Brown on the mound for their respective teams, the cross-town rivals could be on a collision course in the title game.
The Lions enter the tournament as the top seed with a 31-3 team record. Despite missing a few games this season, Lewis racked up a 22-1 record and hasn’t loss since the first game of the season.
“Jenna is the catalyst of our squad,” MHS coach Stephanie Riley said. “She knows she has the team on her shoulders, but she also knows this team will do everything necessary to back her up. She has grown mentally in the game and within herself. She is stronger than she has ever been on the mound.”
Lewis has been almost untouchable this season. She pitched 111 innings in 24 games. She allowed 45 hits and 15 runs while also striking out 95 batters.
“Jenna is a very solid pitcher,” Riley said. “She doesn’t throw the ball as hard as some we have had in the past, but I think Jenna moves the ball and changes speeds better than anyone we have had. She does very well at keeping batters off guard.”
As dominant as Lewis as been, Brown has been equally effective for the SaberCats (28-4). The senior has compiled a 19-2 record and allowed only seven earned runs this season.
“Katelyn has been absolutely awesome for us this year,” Southmoore coach Jeff Small said. “She has been dominating at times. Quite a bit of the time. If she can relax, keep the ball down and hit her spots, she is as good as anybody.”
Moore will face Sand Springs at 3 p.m. while Southmoore and Jenks face off at 5 p.m. The winners will advance to the Friday’s semifinals. The 6A championship game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
If the Lions and ’Cats play to their potential, fastpitch fans could see a titanic rematch of the regular season duel, in which Lewis came out on top of Brown.
However, both coaches know that in order to claim a state title, a team needs more than just a good arm.
“We are playing really well right now,” Riley said. “We are strong on the mound, offensively, and defensively. The girls are really enjoying playing together, which makes us stronger every day. We need to stick with our game plan that we started on July 26, the first day of practice. We have shed blood, sweat, and tears this season, but we have stayed solid together. “
While Moore is used to playing at this time of the year, the ’Cats are still learning what it takes to go for the gold ball.
“More than anything else, I want them to relax and play like they know they can,” Small said. “It’s taken us a while to get here. We think it’s a state tournament that’s as wide open as any. I don’t think there is anybody that is dominating. A lot of times, you see that at this level. You have to play well and when you get the opportunities, you have to take advantage of them. Because you don’t get very many.”