By Chuck Reherman
MOORE – Earning a host role is the first goal for teams at the start of the softball season.
Yukon earned theirs Wednesday.
The Millerettes locked up the runner-up spot in District 6A-2 and earned the right to host a regional tournament with an 11-8 win over Westmoore at Westmoore.
The Millerettes improved to 11-2 in the district race, but won’t be able to catch Westmoore, 12-1. Even if the teams finished tied for first, Westmoore will take the district title by run differential.
YHS will finish in sole possession of second. Moore, the third place team has five losses and fourth place team Midwest City has six.
The Millerettes close out the district slate on Monday, hosting Edmond Santa Fe and will play at Mustang on Thursday,.
Yukon jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Westmoore, saw the Lady Jags come back to take a 5-4 lead, then rally to take a 9-7 lead through two innings. The Millerette defense then clamped down on Westmoore in the final five innings.
“The way this thing started out, I felt it was going to be a really high scoring game,” Millerette head coach Katy Hoke said. “It was just big hit, big hit, big hit in those first two innings.
“The girls fought hard at the plate and made adjustments at the plate one through nine,” she said. “Defensively we made the plays we needed to make. A.J. (starting pitcher Rayburn) was throwing the ball well, they were right on her timing and the pitches that weren’t on the plate, they were going and getting. They just had her timing and we needed to make a switch. It wasn’t that she was doing anything wrong, they just had her number. Sometimes that happens.
“Kaylee (Bradley) came in kept the ball low and got us ground balls that we could make plays on. That was only their fourth loss of the year.”
The game was basically a reverse of the first meeting between the teams. In that game, Yukon couldn’t make the plays and made mistakes. In this game, the Lady Jaguars didn’t make the plays and committed errors that led the YHS runs.
Bradley came on in the third inning and allowed the Lady Jaguars only one run the rest of the way.
Westmoore did make it a 9-8 game in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI single. That came after a one-out triple. The Lady Jaguars also had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Millerettes pushedtheir lead out to two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Bell Provence, 10-8.
Ashlynn Bruce had led off the inning with a single. With two out, McKenna Johnson singled to move the runner to third base.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Provence singled behind first base to drive in the run. The Milerettes had a chance to break the game open, but a ground out ended the inning.
Yukon added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI double by Bree Johnson. Hannah Hurtz had reached on an error and after a single by Brooklyn Mathers, Johnson lined her double to drive in the run.
Westmoore did get a runner on base, but Bradley got the next batter to ground out to shortstop McKenna Johnson for the final out.
“We told the girls that we can play with Westmoore, we just have to get all our pieces together,” Hoke said. “We have to have defense, pitching and offense. You have to have all three pieces and we can play with any body if we can bring all three of those pieces.
“We have all three of those pieces, it is just getting them all there on the same night.”
On Tuesday, the Millerettes eliminated Moore from a chance at the runner-up spot with a 7-5 win at Moore.
Amanda Davis’s three-run scoring double in the sixth inning gave the Millerettes a 6-2 lead.
Hurtz doubled in a run in the sixth inning that opened a 7-4 Millerette lead. Moore scored in the seventh.
By Chuck Reherman