Kailyn Ward struck out eighteen batters on Tuesday evening as the Durant Lady Lions defeated the visiting Byng Lady Pirates, 6-3.
Ward pitched all seven innings for the Lady Lions and gave up two hits. “When your pitcher goes out and strikes out eighteen, you always have a good chance to win,” said Durant head coach Aaron Mullens after the game.Ward looked untouchable in the early innings and struck out the first nine Byng hitters that she faced.
Katie Caraway got things started for the Lady Lions in the bottom of the first with a leadoff single. McKenzi Clapp followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Caraway to second base. Colby Holder then blasted a two-run homer over the centerfield wall to give the Lady Lions a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Lions added another run in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice-fly RBI from Ward.
The Lady Pirates put a dent in the Durant lead in the top of the fourth with a two-run home run. Alexa Richards gave the Lady Lions some breathing room in the bottom half of the fourth when she scored from third base on a wild throw to make it 4-2. Richards also knocked in another run in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice-fly RBI.
The Lady Pirates scored again in the top of the sixth with an RBI double to make it 5-3 but the Lady Lions added one more insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double from Clapp that scored Lauren Vela.
Ward retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to end the game. “We tacked on runs as we went and our pitching, defense, and hitting came through today,” said Mullens. “We played a good team and beat two good teams last night so we are on a good track for regionals.”
Next up on the schedule for the Lady Lions will be an appearance in the Bixby Festival this weekend and then the regional tournament which begins on October 3.