By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — Despite hosting many of the top teams from them the finals of the Big Cat Classic turned into a backyard squabble. No. 5 Westmoore defeated No. 4 Moore 5-1 Saturday at Southmoore.
“We needed that boost to know that we are still on top,” Westmoore’s Anne Ramirez said. “We can still go out there and beat the best teams. Moore is a top team for us and so is Southmoore. To get revenge on Southmoore was nice. The team needed it.”
The Jaguars went undefeated over the two-day competition that saw games played at Southmoore, Westmoore and Moore. That included wins over the then second-ranked SaberCats and No. 9 Jenks.
“I’ve been playing softball pretty much all my life,” Ramirez said. “I know how it feels to come back and play all day from being in losers bracket to coming back to the championship and winning it. It’s all mentality. And you just have to have it in your head that you want it more than the other team. And clearly our girls wanted it more than they did.”
Westmoore coach Steve Schwarz says the sweep was a tone setter for the rest of the season.
“Just shows we’re not afraid of anybody,” Schwarz said. “People always say that’s a tough schedule. We are Westmoore. We like to think of ourselves as the team to beat. So we try to put the other team on their heals, especially if you can get out on them early.”
To get to the title game, Moore had to take on Dale, Muskogee and Tahlequah on Day 1. After losing to Union, they had to beat a depleted Norman High squad to clinch a spot in the finals.
The Lions bats were on fire much tourney. They racked up three run-ruled games.
But when they took on the Jags, Moore was unable to muster any type of offense. The Jags had the same affect o the SaberCats.
“The key was base hits, good defense and pitching,” Schwarz said. “Sounds like a cliché, but that’s what we did. We just gave up one run there and held Southmoore to five. If you had told me before the tournament that we could do that, I’d say your lying. But we’ve been improving every week.”
Westmoore’s victory at the Classic moved them up from No. 5 to No. 2 in the latest Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association slow pitch rankings. Despite losing to the Jags (14-2), Southmoore (16-1) jumped to No. 1 and Moore (13-3) stayed put at No. 4.
All three area teams are back in action this week. Southmoore faced Cache and Moore Monday and Tuesday. They will travel to Norman today. The Lions and Jaguars are both head to the Muskogee tournament this weekend, but will not have to face each other until April 15.
But for now, being able to beat the lions for the tourney title gives the Jags bragging rights.
“It makes it even more special,” Ramirez said. “It makes it awesome. Every time we go out there we want to beat Moore as best as we can. This game we struggled a little bit. The girls are tired. But there is no reason we shouldn’t come out and play like we did. I think we did a good job and stayed on top.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth email@example.com