OKLAHOMA CITY — Beyond the left-field fence, coaches Jeff Parnell and Rebecca Burrows sat on buckets, addressing the team members seated on the grass in front of them.
Three Davis players listened to their coaches’ message for the final time: the slow-pitch softball careers of Jaycee Sanders, Sarah Elizabeth Talmage and Stephanie Collins concluded.
After listening to their coaches’ message, some Davis Lady Wolves hugged one another.
Washington’s explosive offense tallied 13 first-inning runs, and the Lady Warriors earned a 16-2, four-inning, win Tuesday in a Class 4A quarterfinal at OGE Energy Field at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium Complex.
“It was pretty sad, you know, this is our last game,” Talmage said. “It’s always sad, but we knew what we could’ve done better and we didn’t, but that’s okay: They’ll come back next year and be better.”
Washington entered play Thursday as two-time defending Class 4A slow-pitch champions. In Class 3A, the Lady Warriors are three-time defending state champions in fast-pitch.
Davis is working to reach that point.
“It was a big thing (to make it to the state tournament),” Sanders said. “We didn’t make it last year. Coming into this year, my senior year, I wanted to finish with a win. I mean, I guess we weren’t ready for it. Washington gave it their all. They deserved to win.”
Washington, the No. 2 team in Class 4A, strung together four consecutive one-out singles against Talmage, the latter of which a two-run hit by Hailey Miller. Parnell then visited the circle.
Raegan Roten singled to load the bases. Bethany Hines drew a walk. Savanna Hammonds hit a three-run double over left fielder Jolie Romine’s head, increasing Washington’s lead to 7-0. The Lady Warriors added three more singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice — a throwing error allowed an additional run to score — before Miller hit a three-run home run to left field.
“They were ready,” Parnell said. “They hit it very good. In the four games I’ve watched them play, they haven’t hit it that good. They hit it really good today. I was a little shocked.”
Davis (24-13) hit the ball hard, but often directly to Lady Warriors’ defenders. The Lady Wolves, ranked No. 7 in 4A, scored once in the second and third: Jazmyne Thomas hit a two-out RBI single that plated Sanders, who slid past the tag, and Macie Buckaloo added a third-inning RBI double, which drove in Romine, who had two hits in as many at-bats.
“We hit it hard, just right at people,” Parnell said. “They made some good catches. It’s part of it, just I think the nerves got us a little bit early, playing on the big field, having six girls out here that have never been out here, it’s an experience, but they’re going to learn from it.
“We’ll be better next year and we’ll hopefully get back here again next year.”
Toward that end, Davis will have to replace an All-State outfielder in Sanders, Talmage and Collins.
“Sanders is one of the best outfielders in the state of Oklahoma to me,” Parnell said. “She’s a good one.
“Talmage is a good slow-pitch pitcher. Very good.
“Steph’s a good leader. I’ll definitely miss those three. They’re tough to lose.”
The score remained on the board for 42 minutes after the game ended.
At 11:27 a.m., the operator cleared the final tally — two minutes before the next game.
The time Davis players spend working on their games is not lost on their coaches.
“I’m just very proud of these girls,” Parnell said. “Getting here is an accomplishment. We were wanting to win a title. I’m just very proud of their effort and the work ethic all these girls have had.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them.”