OKLAHOMA CITY — Slowpitch softball. It giveth, and it taketh away.

Turner found that out the hard way on Tuesday, taking a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Barnsdall in the first round of the Class 2A state tournament in Oklahoma City.

Despite holding three-run leads at two separate points, Turner simply could not keep Barnsdall away, with the Panthers cashing in on back-to-back big innings to wipe out both deficits.

"When you have even matched teams like these, you have to make the routine plays," Turner coach Shane Hill said. "If you give them outs, they'll hurt you and that's kind of what happened."

The Falcons jumped out to an early lead in the first, with the first six runners reaching base en route to a 4-0 start. Barnsdall answered by cutting the deficit in half in the second inning, then cutting the Turner lead to 4-3 in the third.

Turner tacked on another run in the fourth to push the lead back to two when Sierra Parker scored on a Kara Hurst RBI single.
"We hit the ball well, scored plenty enough runs to win," Hill said.

The two teams would match scoreless half-innings heading into the bottom of the fifth, when the Falcons fell victim to some sloppy defensive play that allowed Barnsdall to cut the lead to 5-4 before a big two-run triple gave Barnsdall its first lead of the game.

Trailing 7-5 heading into the top of the sixth, Turner put together a magnificent five-run rally, highlighted by a tremendous two-out, three-run homer by Connor Harmon to give Turner a 10-7 lead.

Things would never improve for the Falcons from there. Barnsdall quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth before driving home three runs to tie the game.

"We gave them five outs in the fifth and sixth and that cost us the game," Hill said. "It's as simple as that."

Turner was unable to dent the scoreboard in the final frame before Barnsdall's Ciara McCabe had a two-out, game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh.

Harmon finished with a magnificent final performance, blasting two triples in addition to the homer. Afterwards, she was unable to hide her tears while sharing a hug with Hill.

Fellow senior Taylor Foster was 2-for-4 on the day, and the two were part of a strong core that led the Falcons to a 24-6 record, one of the best seasons in Turner slowpitch history.

"(Harmon) really smashed the ball today," Hill said. "All those seniors had an unbelievable work ethic, love for the game and competing.

"I'm going to hate to lose those girls."

As for the future, Hill is not despondent; junior Andi McGill and freshman Allie Foster each collected two hits and should figure to be some of the main contributors for another team looking to make a run next season.

"Some other people should step up and hopefully fill right in," Hill said. "Like I told those younger girls, you have four opportunities to get here and you need to make the most of them when you get there."

Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD