Red Oak pitcher Kendra Coleman battled nerves and the cold at the start of the Class B state championship fastpitch softball game Saturday against defending champion Hammon.
Coleman walked two, gave up two hits and allowed two runs in the first inning as top-ranked Red Oak fell behind early against the Lady Warriors at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
But Coleman only gave up one hit the rest of the way as the Lady Eagles rallied with runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings to defeat Hammon, 3-2, giving Red Oak its first fastpitch state title since 2007.
Coleman said it took her an inning to get warm and get calm.
“I had to battle the cold all day, but once I got warm and stayed in the zone, I was fine,” the senior hurler said. “My nerves were gone.”
Red Oak coach Casey Butcher said the Lady Eagles got healthy at the right time.
“All year we battled injuries,” Butcher said. “I have been telling the girls for three weeks now that we're supposed to win it. We have only had full squad for 2 1/2 weeks.”
Freshman Brittany Ward and junior Myranda Rowland had crucial RBIs for the Lady Eagles.
“They hit us in the mouth early and we responded real well,” Butcher said. “We showed mental toughness today.”
Hammon was playing without one of its best hitters, senior catcher Kori Barrios, who broke her thumb in the Lady Warriors' 10-3 opening-round win over Maud on Thursday.
“Losing Kori really hurt us, but I was proud of the girls for the way they battled and got to the championship game without Kori,” Hammon coach Josh Trent said.