SHAWNEE — Southmoore freshman Lindsey Stoeckel made a rookie mistake early Tuesday.
As she watched her home run sail over the left-field fence in the SaberCats’ 12-5 victory over Broken Arrow in the Class 6A slowpitch softball state quarterfinals, she missed first base and was forced to turn around and touch first before completing her home run trot.
Well, she insists she never did.
Nevertheless, it was a comical start to her fantastic day as she helped No. 1 Southmoore rally through three games to win its first slowpitch state title with a 14-8 victory over Tahlequah at The Ballfields at Firelake.
“I did not miss first,” Stoeckel said. “My foot went over it, but I dragged my back foot over it. It was just to be safe to go back, but I hit the base. Coach (Jeff) Small is never going to let me live that one down, but it’s OK.”
Stoeckel hit two homers on the day and went 2 for 4 in the title game, an impressive day even for a freshman.
“She’s a tremendous player as a freshman,” Southmoore head coach Jason Lingo said.
Southmoore (32-5) also won the fastpitch championship on October, displaying a dominance the youngest Moore school has been searching for since it opened.
It’s also important for the school after nearly one year of recovery following the devastating May 20 tornado.
“It’s hard to put into words after everything we’ve been through for the last year,” Lingo said. “It’s been brutal, but these are special kids. A lot of us were affected by a lot of different things, but they never let it bother them.
“The resiliency they showed in fastpitch; we were the frontrunner. And we didn’t really feel like that in slowpitch, even though we were ranked No. 1. We felt like we were in the middle of the pack with everyone else.”
Southmoore, though, was far from the middle of the pack.
The SaberCats easily dispatched Broken Arrow and then rallied for a 13-12 win over Muskogee. Then it was a matter of slowing down hot-swinging Tahlequah.
“Once we came back (against Muskogee), we were like, ‘We came too far to ruin it now,’” sophomore shortstop Arielle James said.
Southmoore jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first against Tahlequah, pounding out seven hits. It never looked back, hitting three homers and never trailing.
It’s a good sign for a young team moving forward that features 10 players that are either a freshman or sophomore.
One of those, at least the final two games, never missed a base again.
“She’ll never live it down,” James said about Stoeckel. “Ever.”