By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — Playing in its first-ever regional championship, Southmoore looked like anything but inexperienced as it dispatched Putnam City North 12-0 Thursday in Moore. The win locked up the program’s first fastpitch regional title and a berth in next week’s state tournament.
“We should have been there sooner,” Southmoore coach Jeff Small said. “It’s where everybody wants to be. Eight teams left playing next week. We’re one of them, so we are excited and thrilled about that. They worked hard and deserve it.”
Katelyn Brown (19-2) picked up her second win of the postseason after throwing a one-hit shutout against the Panthers. She didn’t give up her only hit of the afternoon until the top of the fifth.
That would be all the help the Southmoore offense would need. The SaberCats scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to run-rule the Panthers and end the tournament.
Shayla Williams collected three RBIs in the close-out game to lead the offensive charge. Small said it was a collective effort.
“Katelyn Brown threw great,” Small said. “It’s the best offensive team we’ve had since we’ve been here. It’s the best defensive team we’ve had since we’ve been here. We’re better at pitching. We’re just improved in every area. We continue to work hard and get better and better.”
The SaberCats moved to 28-4 on the season and now prepare for uncharted territories at the state tournament, which will be held in Shawnee.
“I don’t know if there is a dominant team out there in 6A this year,” Small said. “I know we’re happy to be there, but we feel like there is more out there to be done. Somebody has to win it. It could be us just as easy as it could be anybody.”
While the SaberCats were taking care of business at Southmoore, cross-town rival Moore was putting the finishing touches on its own regional championships. The Lions touched up Putnam City 10-0 at MHS.
“We played really well,” Moore coach Stephanie Riley said. “We stayed focused on our goal, which was to go through the tournament and win the regional championship and go to state.”
Moore got solid production throughout the lineup. Halle Malone was 3 for 3, while Kennedy Jackson was 3 for 4 at the plate. Briana Mcarthur and Demi Dobbs each had a pair of hits.
Jenna Lynn (19-1) picked up her third victory in the tournament after throwing a one-hitter. Lynn and the Lions’ defense didn’t allow a run in three regional games.
“I’m not surprised at all, “ Riley said. “The girls were definitely focused throughout the whole thing.”
Moore was able to play the Pirates in the championship game after Norman High lost to Putnam City 5-2 in eight innings earlier in the day to close out its season.
Three schools from Moore had a shot at making it to state. However, Westmoore fell 5-4 to Jenks to end its bid.
The Lions have now won 10 straight regional championships and will make their 10th consecutive trip to the state tourney next week. They will enter state riding a 29-game win streak.
“It’s all about continuing the tradition we started back in 2003,” Riley said. “When they walk in even as seventh graders, they know early on what’s expected of them. And they rise to the challenge the coaching staff puts on them every day.”
The state tournament is set to start for Thursday at the Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee. Top-seed Moore takes on Sand Springs in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Southmoore faces Jenks at 5 p.m. The semifinals are Friday and the championship game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org