SHAWNEE — The Rock Creek Lady Mustangs earned the 2014 Class 2A slow-pitch State championship Wednesday with a remarkable offensive performance that included 10 home runs on the day. It’s the third “charm” for the program, also taking the title in 2004 and ’06.
The Lady Mustangs — ranked No. 12 going into the tournament — didn’t even have to get into the seventh inning to win two of the three. They eliminated No. 7 Maud with a 16-2 win and toppled top-ranked Stonewall 25-13, each ending in the sixth. They rallied and held on against No. 2 Binger-Oney for an 8-7 victory to earn the trophy.
“I’m so happy,” said Michelle Wheeler, one of only two seniors on the team. “I’m glad we left a legacy for the girls coming up, and we have so many freshmen.”
Five of the 11 in Rock Creek’s starting batting order were ninth-graders and four sophomores.
Rock Creek 16, Maud 2
Rock Creek batted first and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. It was extended to 6-0 in the second and 7-0 in the third before Maud put its only two on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame.
The Lady Mustangs weren’t done. They made it 11-2 in the fourth and 16-2 in the sixth. All their base runners reached on hits, except one walk to start the sixth and two consecutive errors in the same frame.
Offense: Kaytlin Blackburn, HR, single, two RBI; Arie Young, double, single, RBI; Ashlyn Robinson, HR for RBI; Macy Eiler, two singles, two RBI; Harlie Heflin, triple, two doubles, two RBI; Michelle Wheeler, two singles; Karrie Blackburn, two doubles, two RBI; Michaela Stinson, double, single, walk; Carol Scott, double, single, two RBI; and Megan Robinson, RBI.
Rock Creek 25, Stonewall 13
The Lady Mustangs had a 2-1 lead after one. Then, it became a bat-cracking game. Stonewall put up seven runs in the top of the second to make it 8-2. But Rock Creek sophomore Kaytlin Blackburn blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the second to put her team within one.
The Lady Longhorns added a run in the third, but the Lady Mustangs put five across the plate. Ashlyn Robinson led off with a solo homer of the left-field fence. With one out, senior Michelle Wheeler lifted a three-run shot over at left to give Rock Creek the lead.
With one out and runners at first and second in the fourth, senior Harlie Heflin landed her own three-RBI homer over the left-field wall. Rock Creek put up seven runs in the inning to jack up the lead to 19-10.
Stonewall pushed in its last three scores in the top of the fifth.
The Lady Mustangs added six in the bottom of the sixth. Heflin started it with a short hit the catcher couldn’t manage with a dive in the dirt. After Kristen Robinson flied out to left-center, Wheeler sent a rocket between short stop and third for a double. With runners at second and third, Karrie Blackburn’s sacrifice fly scored Heflin. Michaela Stinson’s single to shallow left scored Wheeler. Two straight walks loaded the bases and the stage was set.
Blackburn ended the game with a big exclamation mark — yet another grand slam.
Offense: Kaytlin Blackburn, two grand slams, double, two singles, eight RBI; Ashlyn Robinson, HR, single, two RBI; Macy Eiler, HR, single, two RBI; Harlie Heflin, HR, single, three RBI; Kristen Robinson, walk; Michelle Wheeler, HR, two doubles, three RBI; Karrie Blackburn, single, RBI; Michaela Stinson, double, three singles, three RBI; Carol Scott, two doubles, single, two RBI, walk; and Megan Robinson, walk.
Rock Creek 8, Binger-Oney 7
Binger-Oney had just taken a break after beating Soper 27-10 in three innings that lasted the full time allotment. Although Rock Creek had momentum, just coming off a win, the Lady Bobcats leapt to a 4-0 lead on well-placed hits in the top of the first. The Lady Mustangs left bases loaded in the bottom of the frame.
Rock Creek put one across in the third. Kaytlin Blackburn hit a single up the middle and came around on an Ashlyn Robinson single to left-center.
Binger-Oney’s 4-1 lead held until the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs, Megan Robinson hit a single up the middle that sent Carol Scott sliding into home on a close-call score. Then, Kaytlin Blackburn smacked the centerfield wall for an RBI triple. She scored the tying run on Arie Young’s bloop single to left field.
The Lady Bobcats went down after three batters in the top of the sixth.
Macy Eiler led off the bottom of the frame with a home run over the left-center fence for the go-ahead score. Then there was lightning, literally, in the distant north sky. Play was paused briefly.
When resumed, Harlie Heflin took her at-bat to a 3-1 count before knocking it over the centerfield fence.
Two batters and outs later, Karrie Blackburn hit a single up the middle. Her courtesy runner, Riley Angello, scored on a double to left-center by Michaela Stinson, who got an extra base on the throw home. That made crossing the plate a little easier when Scott sent a hard hit to the short stop that ramped up her and into the grass.
The Lady Mustangs took an 8-4 lead into the seventh.
The Lady Bobcats’ six-hole started it by ramping one off short stop Arie Young. After one out, a double up the third-base line put runners at second and third. A little rain began falling from the sky just before the nine-hole landed a two-RBI double over center fielder Ashlyn Robinson’s head.
A strikeout brought up the leadoff. Her hard, low hit was slowed by second baseman Kristen Robinson and diverted back toward right field, allowing a run to score and make it a one-point game. But the two-hole grounded to third baseman Eiler, who fired it to first for the third out. Celebration time.
Offense: Kaytlin Blackburn, triple, double, single, RBI; Young, single, RBI; Ashlyn Robinson, single, RBI, walk; Eiler, HR for RBI; Heflin, HR for RBI, walk; Karrie Blackburn, two singles; Stinson, double, single, RBI; Scott, single; and Megan Robinson, single, RBI.