By Chuck Reherman
When it comes to competing against Mustang in softball, Yukon has not had much luck in the past few years.
The Millerettes changed all that Wednesday night and is now one step away from returning to the class 6A state tournament.
Jordan Schlarb’s two-run scoring double in the bottom of the fourth rallied the Millerettes to a 3-2 lead and Bree Johnson and Amanda Davis hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning to beat Mustang 6-3 in the winners bracket final of the Region IV Tournament at Yukon.
The Millerettes, 20-8, will play for the regional title at 2 p.m. today against the winner of Mustang and Edmond Memorial. Those two teams play at noon in an elimination game.
It YHS loses the championship game, the if necessary game will be played at 4 p.m.
YHS had beaten Memorial 11-2 in the opening round and Mustang posted a 16-1 win over Santa Fe. Memorial outsted Santa Fe to reach the elimination game.
“Two big wins, that was great, it puts us in good position for tomorrow,” Millerette head coach Katy Hoke said. “It wasn’t a perfect day, but the main difference was the intensity. The excitement and the urgency that the girls played with, they were up at the fence cheering and talking and supporting all aspects of the game.
“Having Bree last that whole ball game was a huge asset,” she said. “We just played a little stronger defense when she it out there with the confidence that she emits. Defensively it wasn’t perfect, we have to communicate a little more.
Offensively, we still popped the ball up some and have to cut down on those and make adjustments at the plate. I think the overall intensity and excitement to me pushes fun and you play better when you are having fun.”
The Millerettes trailed Mustang 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning and turned the game around at that point as Schlarb keyed a four-run inning with a two-RBI double.
YHS had loaded the bases after Ashlynn Bruce reached after hitting a line drive of caromed off the pitcher’s glove, Bree Johnson doubled down the left field line and Amanda Davis drew a walk. A second walk to McKenna Johnson sent home the Millerettes’ first run.
Schlarb lined a double off the right centerfield to drive in two runs to give YHS a 3-2 lead. Gigi Vandelune’s sacrifice fly sent home the fourth run of the inning.
Mustang did cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning, but the Millerettes used the long ball to add to their lead in the bottom of the frame.
With two out, Bree Johnson parked a 2-1 pitch off the scoreboard in centerfield. One pitch later, Amanda Davis drove a shot down the left field line for a 6-3 lead.
Mustang did threaten in the sixth inning, but second baseman A.J. Rayburn threw a runner out at the plate to end the threat.
“We didn’t get down when we gave up that first early run,” she said. “We didn’t quit on it or duck our heads and say it was over. We kept fighting the entire game and I am really proud of them.
“Even when we had that mistake in the fourth inning that led to Mustang’s second run, we fought til the end,” she added. “Mustang is a good program, they are going to come out and attack the ball and can hit the ball hard. But, so can we. You have to have that fight and we will have to bring that fight tomorrow.”
The Millerettes had reached the winners bracket final with an 11-2 win over Edmond Memorial in the opening game of the tournament.
Yukon had taken the lead in a Hannah Hurtz’ home run to open the game, then took control in the third, scoring four runs to open a 5-1 lead. After bases loaded walks to Bree Johnson and Davis, McKenna Johnson’s two-run double opened the four-run lead.
Bruce’s two-run home run in the fourth inning keyed a three-run frame and an 8-1 lead. Brooklyn Mathers had singled in the first run of the inning before Bruce’s two-run shot.
An RBI single by Schlarb in the sixth inning and a run-scoring triple from Bruce and an RBI single from Bree Johnson opened an 11-1 run in the top of the seventh.
By Chuck Reherman