CORNISH — Ringling sophomore Raylee Pogue sent a text message to Lady Blue Devils coach Steve Pybas at 12:17 p.m. Monday to inform him that she had been medically cleared to resume softball activities.
Pogue had suffered a broken ankle during a summer league game in Tishomingo and hadn’t played since then.
After she was cleared, she warmed up on the field and was subsequently given the OK by Pybas to play.
All of that time off away from the field didn’t cause her to lose any of her power.
Pogue unloaded the fifth pitch that she saw from Turner senior ace Jacey Henry in the bottom of the seventh for a solo walk-off home run, lifting Class A No. 7 Ringling to a 2-1 victory over the Class B No. 2 Lady Falcons.
“I knew that she had been chomping at the bit ready to get back and texted me before got she got back here,” Pybas said. “I told her to warm up and see how it feels. She’s a great hitter. I’ve got great kids. I’m blessed to have great kids like I do.”
The pitch that Pogue hit over the wall was the third one of the at-bat that she had struck far. The first one was lined high over the Turner team bus in the parking lot. The second one was a hard liner that cleared the fencing behind home plate and at least 30 feet beyond that mark.
“I was thinking that they were going to throw something more low, kind of something that would be hard to get a good bat on,” she said. “(Henry is) definitely one that you don’t want mess with. I was just trying to get my timing on that pitch. I got my timing on that last one.”
The game — at least on paper — was billed as a pitcher’s duel between Henry and Ringling senior Angel Stoker, and it certainly lived up to the hype.
Stoker had the edge in terms of strikeouts; she finished with 11 punch-outs.
Henry countered with four strikeouts and received timely plays from the Turner defense, allowing the contest moving at a brisk pace.
Each pitcher yielded four hits.
“It was one of those games where it was a great game between two great clubs,” Turner coach Shane Hill said. “I told them on the way over here that it is going to be a game of whoever makes the least amount of mistakes. Neither one of us made any mistakes.”
The lone run that Turner generated off Stoker was ignited by her counterpart in the circle.
Henry drove the first pitch that was thrown by Stoker in the top of the first into center field for a triple.
Rylee Carter followed with an RBI ground-out, for a 1-0 Turner lead.
“Just like as it is with her pitching, when she is hitting, you don’t want to mess around with her,” Stoker said of Henry. “She’s a great hitter. I missed my spot a little bit. It was where it was supposed to be but a little too inside. She just got a hold of it and drove it to the fence. You can’t take away anything from her. She is a great player.”
Henry had a perfect game working through 3 2/3 innings.
That bid for perfection was broken up by Stoker’s hard grounder that went for a single in the home half of the fourth.
Pogue followed with a single through the middle to put runners at first and second bases.
Turner (17-2) appeared to get out of the inning unscathed when left fielder Kaylee Colston slid just inside fair territory to attempt to make a catch.
A failed mad scramble to the ball between three fielders allowed the inning to continue.
On the play, another Lady Falcons player made contact with Colston and directed the ball out of Colton’s glove, allowing Stoker to cross home plate and tie the score at 1-1.
Hill emerged from the dugout and argued, to no avail, that the ball was contacted by Colston in foul territory.
“I know that it was foul,” he said. “Not all the way. I felt like we were diving for the ball and our body was on the line and she touches it in foul territory. But that’s a judgment call. But that’s a run for them.”
After Stoker worked around singles by Shyanne Parker and Chloe Tynes in the top of the seventh, Pogue punctuated senior night for Ringling (14-3) with one swing of the bat in the next half- inning.
Pogue tallied two hits off Henry.
“The kids did great,” Pybas said. “Our bench. Our dugout. I can’t say enough about them. They kept us energized, even when we fell behind one to nothing. Truly a team effort.”