QUAPAW - The game's first baserunner scored the game's only run as Welch eked out a 1-0 victory over Commerce in the finals of the Quapaw Tournament here Saturday.
“This was one of those games where the first team that makes a mistake normally loses,” said Welch coach Josh Schertz, whose Lady Wildcats pocketed their second straight title here.
Leadoff batter Ashley Marlow had a slap bunt single to start things off for Welch. She then wound up circling the bases when a throw to second on a fielder's choice by Jordan Amos sailed into left field.
“We had a basic breakdown on coverage,” Commerce coach Jerry Myers said. “That is going to happen. I told them to forget the mental mistakes we had - we can correct those. If we can give that effort day in and day out, we're going to win a lot of ballgames.”
While that was the only run of the scorching-hot afternoon, each team had numerous chances.
In fact, Commerce had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Jacey Knight singled, and after Lindsey Heatherly hit into a fielder's choice, both advanced on a stolen base.
Knight broke for home on a 0-2 pitch to Kourtney Reading - but had her path blocked by Amos. Amos got the tag applied before Knight could reach around and slap home plate with her left hand.
“We got that opportunity,” Myers said. “If she had caught me just a little quicker on me telling her to go, I think she would have been in there. You've got to take chances against people like that. It was a gamble.”
“That was a good play,” Schertz said. “Jordan did a nice job hanging onto the ball.”
Welch left four runners stranded and had four others cut down.
Commerce left five stranded, including three at third base.
Winning pitcher Kalleigh Chrz struck out 11 and scattered four hits.
Her counterpart, Johnna Beets, yielded six hits while fanning seven.
Marlow, Katie McClurg, Kelley and Chrz all had singles for Welch.
Knight collected two singles for CHS, which also got a hit from Reading and freshman first baseman Mandy Watson.
“Kalleigh pitched a great game,” Schertz said. “We've got to get a little better running the bases and executing when we get runners on. Most games, if we play we play good defense, one or two runs is going to be enough. We just have to play solid behind her.”
Vinita claimed third place thanks to a 5-4 win over Quapaw.
Wyandotte beat Afton to finish fifth and Fairland defeated Ketchum to claim seventh place.