By Chuck Reherman
When Yukon started the season with a team that had very little experience returning, not many gave them a real chance to make a return appearance to the state tournament.
And, when their county rival and defending state champion Mustang was in their regional, those chances were thought to be even slimmer.
The Millerettes bucked those odds and earned a spot in the class 6A state tournament with a 5-3 win over the Lady Broncos in the Region IV finals Thursday at Yukon.
The Millerettes beat MHS twice to earn the spot, taking the winners bracket final 6-3. Mustang came back to eliminate Edmond Memorial 12-6 to reach the finals.
YHS led from the first inning and used a solid performance from Bree Johnson on the mound to earn the win.
“I am super excited for this group,” Millerette head coach Katy Hoke said. “They have overachieved what people thought that they would, especially after what we graduated last year. They have shown everyone they have what it takes as well. I am super proud of them.
“Our team played together and were on the same page for this regional,” Hoke said. “Did we have all three pieces of the game, probably not, we still had some misplays on defense, but we played together and that was huge. It’s not going to take one or two players, it is going to take all of them to follow this all the way through.”
The Millerettes turned away a Mustang rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Johnson got a strike out for the second out and a foul pop up down the third base line that was hauled in by Amanda Davis and sent the Millerette dugout running out to celebrate.
Johnson not only worked the mound, but she helped her own cause at the plate. Johnson drove in the game’s first run with a triple down the right field line after Ashlynn Bruce had walked.
YHS made it 2-0 in the second when A.J. Rayburn laid a squeeze bunt that scored McKenna Johnson from third.
Mustang did cut the lead to 2-1 in the third, but the Millerettes answered with two runs in the third on a McKenna Johnson RBI hit and a passed ball to lead 4-1.
YHS opened a 4-1 lead in the fifth on an MHS error. But, the Lady Broncos kept in the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame.
“We knew Mustang would not quit and I was proud of our girls for recognizing that and kept fighting,” Hoke said. “That diving catch from Brooklyn (Mathers) in centerfield spoke for that.
“I don’t know how much Bree had left in the tank, but she fought hard and her teammates played behind her,” she added.
State bound — Millerettes beat Mustang for Region IV title
By Chuck Reherman