Tough day for Navajo girls at I-40 Classic tournament

By Ryan Lewis -

Game 1 – Navajo Indians vs. Chisholm Longhorns

The Navajo Indians softball team started out the season 2-0, with plans to do incredible things this season.

On Friday, they suffered their first hurdle of the young season.

The Indians played the Chisholm Longhorns at 12:40 p.m. Friday, and got off to a terrific start when Emmy Cobb took a swing and delivered a hard ground ball to left field.

Kaylen Carroll was walked, putting two on base for the Indians. Kalee Cross stepped up to the plate but her first pitch was wild, allowing Cobb to take advantage and sprint across home plate to put the Indians up 1-0.

A four-pitch walk put Cross on first and brought up Cambrie Thornton who struck out swinging in three pitches. Kara Cook suffered the same fate and quickly a huge opportunity was beginning to look like stranded runners for the Indians.

The next batter — Karlee McCombs — took a full-count pitch and turned it into a left field double, bringing Carroll in and setting up Cross on third.

Brooke Burgess took only three pitches to send a fly ball to right field and Cross and McCombs to home plate for an Indians 4-0 lead before Tabitha Armstrong lined out to end the big inning.

Shaky pitching by Armstrong allowed the Longhorns to mount a huge comeback and the Indians would see two different pitching changes before the inning came to an end.

The Longhorns took advantage of mistakes and put two runs across the plate before Armstrong was taken out and Cross was put in. Cross was unable to stop the bleeding and the Longhorns plated three more before Cross was pulled in favor of Thornton.

Thornton eventually stopped the Longhorns, but not before they took a commanding 8-4 lead into the third inning.

The Indians were able to score Carroll and Cross after both Cook and McCombs were hit by pitches in a bases loaded situation. Unfortunately, the Indians were unable to capitalize and lost the game by the final score of 8-6.

Game 2 – Navajo Indians vs. Dibble Demons

The second game of the tournament started out much the same for the Indians as their bats came alive early and often and put them up by three in the top of the second as Carroll, Cross, and Thornton all scored before the Demons were able to close out the inning.

The Demons on the other hand, were unable to get anything going offensively through the first two innings and ended the second inning by grounding out, flying out, striking out and stranding two on base.

Gracee Bates was up first in the third inning for the Indians and answered with a hard left field double setting the Indians up in scoring position on their first at-bat.

Cobb and Carroll both flew out before Thornton delivered an RBI single to left field as Bates crossed home and gave the Indians a 4-0 lead. Unfortunately, Thornton was tagged out while advancing to second and bringing a potentially huge offensive possession for the Indians to a halt.

The Demons knew they had to make something happen fast and so they started the bottom of the third inning prepared to do all they could to come back from the edge of defeat.

Luckily for the Demons, the Indians were their own worst enemies and a series of costly errors allowed the Demons to make their way around the bases and put four across the plate to tie the Indians at 4.

But the Indians did not take long to strike back, scoring twice in the top of the fourth when both Kelly Taylor and Brooke Burgess found home plate.

The Demons were unable to do anything during the bottom of the fourth and the Indians’ Carroll scored on a Thornton single to left field in the top of the fifth.

It appeared as if the Indians had a firm grasp on their first victory at the tournament until the Demons came out in the bottom of the fifth and had their biggest offensive explosion of the game.

Camlin Dunn was hit by a pitch to start off the Demons offensive possession and, both Harleigh and Shakota Sparks singled to left field leaving the bases loaded with no outs.

Caitlin Henderson was walked allowing Dunn to score and on the next at-bat, Nicole Horner singled to center field, putting Harleigh Sparks across the plate and the Demons within one of tying the game.

Shakota Sparks and Henderson scored on a Mckenzie Atskin single to center field and the Demons were able to steal the game away from the Indians 8 – 7.

Game 3 – Navajo Indians vs. Frederick Bombers

The Frederick Bombers were nothing like the previous two teams the Indians faced in the tournament, opting instead to take the lead early and leave the Indians playing catch-up.

The Bombers saw a three-run first inning when they loaded the bases early and took advantage of a terrific situation putting across two runs on a line drive left field single and a single to second base. By the end of the top of the first inning, the Bombers had a 3-0 lead on the Indians.

The Indians tried to answer back and were in a good position to do so after they loaded the bases themselves and a Cross single scored Bates. However, Thornton struck out swinging and stranded runners on base.

The Bombers plated another run in the top of the second after a wild pitch by Armstrong allowed a base runner to score. Luckily, the Indians prevented any further damage after a Bomber player flew out in foul territory.

The bottom of the second inning was a big one for the Indians as they were able to score three times after Cook, Julia Pelletier, and Burgess were all walked to begin the inning. Armstrong was hit by a pitch, allowing Cook to score and a Cobb ground ball scored Burgess and Armstrong after an error by the Bombers, tying the game at four.

Neither team was able to produce offensively until the Bombers opened it up in the top of the fourth and scored the last four runs of the game.

A single and two walks loaded the bases and allowed the Bombers an opportunity to break the tie. Two errors, a ground out, and a single to center field allowed four Bomber base runners to score and put the Bombers on top of the Indians 8-4.

The Indians could not produce in bottom of the fifth and left the I-40 Classic without a win, putting them at 2-3 on the season.

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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