Lone Grove completed a 2-4-6-5 double play to record the first and second outs of the final half-inning.
MADILL — Softball players for as long as they can remember, Brooklyn Mason and Taleigh Nail said they couldn't recall a similar ending.
Trailing by two in the top of the seventh inning, Madill had runners on first and second base with no one out, and Kyann Melton at the plate. The sophomore bunted. Lone Grove catcher Adara Finnerty threw to second baseman Maci McMurtrey, who covered first base.
The first out.
Madill's Madison Jowers took an aggressive turn around third base, getting stuck in no-man's land.
Covering third, Lone Grove senior shortstop Kacee Dellis fielded the throw from McMurtrey.
Jowers had decided she'd try to score.
Nail, the third baseman, fielded the throw from Dellis, which flew over Finnerty's left shoulder. Nail applied the tag at home plate to complete a 2-4-6-5 double play.
Kassy Kemp then grounded out to Nail, who bobbled the ball before throwing to first to end the game.
A fourth-inning adjustment by Lone Grove enabled the visitors to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish as the Lady Horns rallied to win 8-5 Monday at Tom Reynolds Field, sweeping a District 4A-1 doubleheader.
“That's the first time I've ever been a part of (an ending like that),” Nail said. “It was like, I don't know, a lot of energy and adrenaline. I honestly didn't really know. I was just going through the motions, I felt like, but we got it done.”
In the decisive fourth frame, Lone Grove bunted more. Lady Horns coach Jimmy Miller praised the way Madill senior pitcher Macy Shirley kept his team off balance.
“We were having trouble staying back and making good contact,” Miller said. “She did a good job. The next option is to bunt it and make them make the plays. It ended up working out for us a little bit.”
The Lady Horns took advantage of three errors to score three runs and take a 7-5 lead. Stevenson, who hit two authoritative doubles in the first game against Jacy Wallace, bunted for two singles against Shirley, who inherited a a 4-0 lead before she threw a pitch. Wallace, Rylee Ruff, Jowers, Melton and Kemp all singled off Lone Grove pitcher Cassidy Baughman. Melton's and Kemp's singles drove in the second and third runs, respectively.
Lone Grove (6-3, 2-0) scored three times in the home half, which began with Mason's bunt single. The junior went 5 for 7 in the sweep.
The Lady Horns tied the game at 4 an inning later on Maci McMurtrey's RBI single.
Madill (2-6, 0-2) reclaimed the lead in the top of the fourth, when Jowers' sacrifice bunt drove in Ruff, who hit a lead-off single.
Though the rally bid fell a little short, Madill coach Randy Rushing's team bounced back from a 15-3 loss in the first game.
“We can play a lot better than we've showed lately,” he said. “In that second game, we played like a team and made a couple minor mistakes. Macy came in and pitched a good game.”
“They (Lone Grove) play softball 24/7. It's a program I'd like to model — I coached there, I know what they're like. We're trying to get better. ... Today, we showed up and played.”
Jowers had a team-high three hits. Bailey Gammill and Kortlyn Yow had two hits apiece, while Shirley drew two walks.
Ada, Dickson, Lone Grove, Madill, Pauls Valley, Plainview and Sulphur comprise the district. Four teams will advance to regionals.
Buoyed by senior Amy Hicks' two RBIs, and McMurtrey's and Dellis' fifth-inning plays defensively, the Lady Horns' quest is off to an auspicious start.
“It was really important,” Nail said. “We didn't hook up as much as we did (in) the first game (in) the second game, but the important thing is we got it done, worked as a team and pushed through it at the end.
“I'm just really proud of my team for pushing through like that. We've got to push through like that all season.”
Lone Grove 15, Madill 3
Mason came a double shy of the cycle as Lone Grove collected five two-out run-scoring hits in the final three innings.
Mason had an inside-the-park home run, a bunt single in the fourth and a triple in the fifth frame.
In the third inning, a batter after Stevenson's pop-up landed in no-man's land behind the circle, Hicks collected the first two-out base knock. Finnerty drew a walk to load the bases, then Moriah Moiser hit a two-run single, which increased the Lady Horns' lead, 6-1.
In the home half, Wallace led off with a double. Ruff walked.
With a sliding catch in shallow center field, Mason denied Yow a hit.
"If I didn't catch that, then it would add an extra runner on base,” Mason said. “The runner on second would go to third base and it would be bases loaded (with no one out). Who knows what could've happened? It was important to make that catch.”
With one out, Jowers reached on an error to load the bases.
Gammill got ahead 3-0. She fouled off two pitches, including a 3-2 offering, before drawing an RBI walk. Melton followed with an RBI single, cutting Madill's deficit to 6-3.
Kassy Kemp grounded into a five-unassisted double play turned by Nail, the Lady Horns third baseman.
With two outs in the fourth, and Lone Grove leading 7-3, Dellis hit a pop-up in front of the circle, too far in front of the plate for Melton to make the catch. Stevenson hit the ball hard in her final two at-bats, an RBI double in the fourth and fifth frames — the first of which was the Lady Horns' first of two two-out run-scoring hits in the inning.
Hicks reached as a hit batsman and Finnerty walked before pinch-hitter Abbi Atkinson hit a two-run double, extending Lone Grove's lead to 10-3.
Mason and Nail tripled in the fifth. (Madill's Cloe Austin sustained a broken collarbone because she nor the Lady Wildcats' center fielder called for the ball, hit by Mason. Instead, they collided.)
McMurtrey, Nail, Dellis and Stevenson had run-scoring hits before Baughman's two-out single drove in the game's final run.
In the bottom half, Jowers hit a slap single. Baughman induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
“If we catch fly balls, it's a different story,” Rushing said.
Editor's note: Lone Grove won the second game 8-5. Micah McVicker forgot to tally Amy Hicks' sixth-inning RBI single in his notes. He apologizes profusely for the mistake.