Monday, October 10, 2011

County team wins state...again

It is never easy to win a state championship.

But for the third time in less than a year, a LeFlore County team has brought a state championship trophy back to our county.

The latest to bring home the gold was the Panama fast pitch softball team.

Previously the Talihina boys won state in basketball last winter and Wister won the Class 2A state baseball championship in the spring.

Three teams from LeFlore County have proven to be the best Oklahoma has to offer in the respective sports. Some counties never win a state championship.

LeFlore County has won some, but it is never easy.

While Talihina and Wister were both considered favorites, or at least among the favorites going into the state tournament, Panama was not.

The Lady Razorbacks were not even rated in the top 20 by OK at the end of the regular season. But the girls entered the tournament on a roll, going back to the end of the LeFlore County Tournament.

Faced with elimination in the tournament and trailing Panama by two runs going into its last at bat, the Lady Razorbacks rallied to win that game and played Poteau a lot closer than anybody expected in the finals.

From that point on, Panama was on fire. The Lady Razorbacks defeated Poteau the next week, won their district and cruised through regional play, even though they had to play and win at Konawa.

Panama downed fifth-ranked Calera in the regional and won all three games in the tournament to advance to state.

Being unranked, Panama drew top-ranked Colbert in the first round. Colbert scored two early runs and it looked like the Lady Razorbacks were going to make a quick exit, trailing by two runs heading into their final at bat.

But once again, Panama rallied and tied the score at 2. Neither team could score in the eighth, ninth and 10th inning. Finally, in the 11th inning, Panama got the winning run to down Colbert, 3-2, and advance to the semifinals.

Panama only scored one run in the semifinals against Savanna, which won its first-round game the day before by scoring 10 runs. But the Lady Razorbacks got excellent pitching by Taylor Eaves and solid defense in holding Savanna scoreless.

That sent them to the state finals against an Oktaha team which had defeated Panama earlier in the season. This time Eaves and her teammates were too good, blanking Oktaha and again, scored only one run.

But that run was all Panama needed and the Lady Razorbacks won the 2A state championship, winning all three games at state by one run, and only allowing two runs in the three games.

So congratulations Panama, the rest of the state didn’t realize until it was too late you were the best in your class. You did the county proud.

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