TAHLEQUAH – Juniors Haley Morgan and Tristyn Hamilton were an offensive dynamo on Monday evening and the Durant Lady Lions virtually wrapped up a Class 5A home regional once again with a 13-7 district win over Tahlequah.
Morgan notched four hits and scored five runs while Hamilton also posted four hits and drove in a whopping seven as Durant moved to 18-5 overall and remained unbeaten atop the District 5A-4 standings at 9-0.
The Lady Lions will have a chance to wrap up the district title Saturday when they visit Collinsville for a 1 p.m. start.
After struggling at times to push across runs during their tournament this past week, an offensive tone was set early on by Durant and the Lady Tigers had little answer.
Morgan, Isie Cox and Hamilton all singled to start the contest and gave the Lady Lions a 1-0 edge which they held the rest of the way.
Durant exploded for four more tallies in the fourth as a Tahlequah error and single by Taylor Russell ignited the flurry. Morgan beat out an infield single to drive in one and Hamilton’s two-out, three-run homer over the rightfield wall capped the frame.
Tahlequah picked up a couple of runs in the bottom of the second on just one hit, cashing in two free passes and a DHS error, but was immediately answered when the visitors erupted for five more.
Rachel Lamb had a run-scoring double, Morgan an RBI single and Hamilton knocked in two more with a single.
The Lady Tigers cut the deficit to 10-4 with a pair in the fourth but Durant came right back with another run. Morgan doubled, Cox reached on a bloop single and Hamilton added her seventh RBI with a single.
Even with an 11-4 advantage, things weren’t entirely safe as Tahlequah kept battling back, scoring twice on three hits in the sixth but the Lady Lions continued to respond offensively.
They got those two tallies back in the top of the seventh with the aid of only one hit – a pinch hit RBI single from freshman Hannah Kaler.
Tahlequah loaded the bases with nobody out in the final stanza but only managed one run as Cox worked out of the jam, thanks in part to strong defense as a Lady Tiger runner was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Cox battled through seven innings for the complete game pitching win, scattering 13 hits but struck out six and issued four free passes.
Durant’s offense totaled 16 hits as Morgan and Hamilton combined for half of that total. Cox and Jaci Phillips added two hits apiece with Lamb, Kaler, Russell and Alissa French chipping in one each.
Two days earlier, the Lady Lions rebounded from Friday’s split to win three straight games on Saturday to finish 4-1 in the Durant Invitational at the Multi-Sports Complex.
In the trio of wins Durant got a pair of pitching gems as well as a come-from-behind win over perennial power Hilldale.
Durant toppled Valliant, 4-1, in the opener as Cox tossed a no-hitter, allowing an unearned run after two walks an error in the second inning.
Darika Douglas had a single and Russell a key double in a two-run second stanza. Hannah Hime chipped in a solo home run in the third and the Lady Lions picked up a final run after a single from Morgan and Cox double in the fourth.
In a 6-0 win over Tecumseh, sophomore Karli Westmoreland was sensational in the pitching circle, yielding only three hits while going the distance for the shutout.
The hosts got the only run they would need in the opening stanza on a leadoff home run from Morgan.
They tacked on one run in the fourth after doubles by Hime and French before a four-run fifth put the game away. The big blows in that frame were a double by Cox and triple from Shayla Harper.
Durant spotted Hilldale a 2-0 lead in the third contest before tying it in the final frame on consecutive singles by Hannah Kaler, Morgan and Cox.
Morgan’s RBI single in the following frame gave the Lady Lions the lead for good and proved to be the club’s lone hit in the inning.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or email@example.com