Indians drop Cyclones to begin season

By Ryan Lewis -

The Navajo Indians softball team kicked off its fast pitch season with a win against the Snyder Cyclones on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. in Snyder.

Through the first three innings of the game, the score was tied at zero with each team trying many times to put a run on the board, but each failing to capitalize when needed.

Karlee McCombs — who went 3-for-3 with 2 runs-batted-in — helped the Indians strike first, putting two runs on the board after notching a double, but for the Indians, it was only the beginning.

Emmy Cobb — who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored — connected with a triple to put the Indians in the perfect position to increase their lead.

Now depending on the bat of Kaylen Carroll — who went 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI’s — the Indians fans, players and coaches watched on as she laid into the ball and made it to first base for an RBI single.

After plating another run in the top of the sixth inning, the Cyclones were determined to get on the scoreboard and did with a two-run double delivered by Rebekah Higginbotham.

Not only did the runs put the Cyclones on the board and stage the beginning of a hopeful comeback, but it also cut the Indians’ lead down to two, essentially taking the pressure off of them and letting the girls relax just a bit and play their brand of softball.

Unfortunately for them, at about the same time, the Navajo Indians were looking to finally put the game away and they planned to do it in dramatic fashion.

There were opportunities for the Cyclones to spoil the Indians’ plans, but a costly two-run error, a sacrifice fly by Cambrie Thornton, and an RBI single by Kara Cook put the game out of reach and gave the Navajo Indians a win to kick off the fall season.

Tabitha Armstrong picked up the win for the Indians, delivering seven strong innings of four-hit softball while walking three and striking out two and impressing Head Coach Terry Gilbert.

“Our pitching was great,” Gilbert said. “This is the first time Tabitha has gone seven. Of course this is the first game of the year, but she hasn’t gone seven innings all summer and she went seven innings and just walked three, so it was a really good game for her in the circle.”

Meanwhile, Karley Henson started off the season shaky, allowing 15 hits and five of the eight runs scored. One positive to take away from the game is her seven strikeout performance and the belief that if her control can be improved, she will be a great pitcher.

As far as Gilbert is concerned, this team is going to be special.

“This team is ready to roll. We kind of knew this a couple of years ago because we saw this bunch coming from a younger age,” Gilbert said. “They’ve outplayed my expectations this summer and I know summer is just practice, but we played 22 summer games, which is basically a full high school season already and have done so just in the last couple of weeks playing double headers almost every day. They’ve held up and we haven’t played a bad ball game all year even though we got beat four times. This bunch can really hit it and they’ve learned how to play defense. We’re just making outs and throwing strikes and they can hit and play ball with any team around.”

The Navajo Indians’ next game will be 5:45 p.m. today at Leedey.

By Ryan Lewis

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

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