While the road to the state tournament might not have been an easy one, the Duncan Lady Demons feel it was worth it.
Needing to win one game Friday afternoon against Guthrie, Duncan was pushed to the limit, forcing the “if necessary” game to be played against the Lady Blue Jays. But, in the end the Lady Demons survived to win the regional championship.
DUNCAN 7, GUTHRIE 4
It only took two batters for the Lady Demons to get things going in Game 2 Friday afternoon.
After switching his lineup around, head coach Robert Cowan elected to put catcher Berkely Faulkner in the second spot, as opposed to her recent lead-off slot.
The switch paid immediate dividends, as Faulkner hit a two-run home run to send the Lady Demons on their way, eventually clinching a state berth with a 7-4 victory.
“Sometimes after you lose the first game, then it’s easy to get your head down,” Cowan said. “I’m proud of every single one of these girls. This is what you work all year for. Right from the start we were nailing the ball, and showed a great effort.”
Before the celebrations could start however, Guthrie made sure to put a scare into the Lady Demons.
Danni Graybeal made it a 7-2 game when she collected an RBI, before Bailey Shaffer helped plate two more runs, when her hit was mishandled on a throwing error at first base.
Guthrie though, wouldn’t plate another run and was silenced the rest of the way.
“I’ve worked on this since January, and it’s very surreal for me right now,” Duncan pitcher Autumn Parker said about making the state tournament. “It’s crazy to think we’ve made it this far by working so hard. This is one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve made in my life so far.”
Cowan also praised the way his junior pitcher performed on the day.
“Autumn has gotten better all year,” he said. “Towards the end of the year she has just gotten better and better. She’s got tons of heart and played great. It was wonderful the way she helped finish the game.”
Duncan made sure to add some insurance runs in the top of the fifth, when Faulkner hit her second homerun of the game, this time a solo shot to left field.
Kortney Brown then scorched an RBI double off the wall in left-center field, scoring Courtney Moore to make it 5-1.
Sara McCormick then got the first of her two RBI in the contest with an RBI double off the wall in center field, making it 6-1. McCormick later made it 7-1 in the top of the seventh.
Shaffer managed to cut the Lady Demons lead in half in the bottom of the first at 2-1, when she hit a solo homerun to right field.
A dribbler through the infield helped Brieanna Webb get an RBI single to make the score 3-1 in the top of the fourth.
“I feel like the first homerun got us going, because we needed that spark,” Faulkner said about her home run in the first inning. “There’s no I in team though, this was a team effort. Autumn pitched great and everyone played amazing. This win makes all the hours I’ve put in worth it. We’ve had our ups and downs this season, but we’re playing as a team right now and that’s what matters.”
“When she (Berkley) brings the offense, then it gets everyone going,” Cowan said. “Her defensive prescience is amazing as well. The way she is swinging the bat right now is scary, but it shows how good of a player she is.”
Parker (21-11) got the win on the mound for the Lady Demons, throwing seven innings of work. She allowed four runs on 10 hits with one strikeout.
Shaffer took the loss for the Lady Blue Jays. She allowed six runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.
Duncan will now await word of who it will be facing in the state quarterfinals on Thursday at ASA Hall Of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.