By BOB CRAMER
After falling behind by three runs in the first inning Tuesday night against Deer Creek, the Mustang High School fast-pitch softball team was in dire need of relief.
Deer Creek had knocked around Lady Broncos’ freshman right-hander Landry Garza before her teammates even batted.
Enter sophomore Lauryn Cottrell, who had been loosening up in the bullpen on the warm evening — the game was pushed back an hour because of the humid, hot weather.
All that Cottrell, a right-hander, did was shut out Deer Creek for the next five innings, giving Mustang a chance to rally for a 7-5 victory, their sixth straight.
“Lauryn doesn’t exactly come in and throw the ball past batters,” Mustang assistant coach Jonathan Moy said. “But she’s effective in hitting her spots and she changes speeds well.”
Mustang (7-1, 2-0 in District 6A-1) regrouped to do all its scoring in the first three innings — once in the first, four times in the second and twice in the third — pounding 13 hits to cruise to the victory.
Cottrell (3-1) worked six innings, yielding five hits and two earned runs while walking three and fanning three.
Sophomore right fielder Hannah Keele and freshman shortstop Logan Picklesimer had three hits apiece for Mustang.
“Hitting really can be contagious. One person gets going, and it snowballs,” said Moy, reminded of his ironic choice of words in the warm weather.
Moy said Garza didn’t pitch badly. Deer Creek just was able to hit good pitches.
“Our defense was really solid, but we didn’t have to make many spectacular plays,” Moy said. “They didn’t hit many balls hard because Lauryn kept them off-balance.”
Mustang’s win streak grew after it won five of six games over the weekend in the Chisholm Trail Tournament at Broken Arrow.
Mustang defeated Jenks 6-3 on Saturday in the third-place game in the Black Division. Senior Micaela Harcrow powered the Lady Broncos, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Hilldale edged Mustang 3-2 in the tournament opener before the Lady Broncos started their win streak.
Victories followed against Muldrow (13-2), Durant (8-6), Midwest City (7-3) and Berryhill (8-0) before the Jenks game.
The most-thrilling contest of the five wins came over Durant.
Cassie Passwaters belted a walk-off grand slam to cap a two-out, eight-run rally in the last inning.
Passwaters had three homers in the tournament.
Mustang hosted a key district game Wednesday against Moore, the leader at 3-0.
The Broncos’ schedule was hectic this week. They host Lawton on Thursday before traveling Friday to Claremore for the Rogers State University Festival and games with Adair (2:30 p.m.) and Dewey (4 p.m.)
The Lady Broncos compete against Lone Grove (noon) Saturday at Oklahoma State University.