Logan Pickelsimer was more than relieved following Mustang’s three-game regional sweep on Wednesday.
“We got straight to it,” she said. “I’m so glad we didn’t mess around this year.”
The Mustang Broncos punched their ticket to the Class 6A state tournament after crushing rival Yukon 12-1 in the regional championship game at Bronco Stadium.
Mustang’s second win of the tournament over the Millerettes took just five innings as the team’s offense exploded for 12 hits, including two from Pickelsimer.
The Broncos tallied six runs over the first two innings and then capped the victory with six more in the final two frames.
“We were pretty locked in,” Pickelsimer said. The Oklahoma State-commit went 2-for-3 with two RBI while playing invaluable defense behind the plate.
“We really did a good job of stringing everything together. We just need to keep this same energy and focus for next weekend.”
Center fielder Arionna McElroy (Jr.) got the Broncos going early with a two-run double off the center field wall in the top of the first inning. The McNeese State-commit went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Arionna McElroy (Jr.) drives a double off the center field wall during Mustang’s 12-1 win over Yukon in the regional championship game on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Bronco Stadium. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Landry Garza (Sr.) made it 6-0 in the second inning with three-run home run that hit the top of the center field wall before bouncing over. Garza, a University of Central Oklahoma-commit, went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
“I think the girls are just seeing the ball really well right now and are just excited to get up there and swing the bats,” Mustang coach Lacy Darity said. “We changed some things a little bit this week in the cages and I think it translated over to the field. They did a great job with it and were ready to go.”
Mustang reeled off three straight RBI-knocks to make it 11-1 in the fourth inning. Yukon first baseman Aryah Mitchell hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third prior to Mustang’s second big inning.
Third baseman Eden Anderson (Jr.) got things going with a three-run double to right field after an intentional walk issued to right fielder Lexi Kierstead (Fr.) to load the bases.
McElroy and Pickelsimer followed with back-to-back RBI-singles for an 11-1 lead.
“We were just trying not to make the game even more special than it already is,” said Pickelsimer, who added an RBI-single in the top of the fifth inning to extend the lead to 12-1.
“Just trying not to make it a big deal and lock in.”
Starting pitcher Kiera McGahee (Sr.) used the run support, but hardly need it. The Seminole State-commit saved a dominant outing for the championship game, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts.
“I was just trying to paint the corners,” McGahee said. ”I didn’t want to leave it over the plate because their (No.) 1 through 5 hitters can rake. It was just a lot of mental work and having faith in the lineup that they were going to hit.”
The Broncos advance to the state tournament for the third straight season. McGahee and her classmates are excited for the opportunity to cap their high school careers with a state title.
“We’ve been working really hard since June,” she said. “We’ve been working our butts off in practice and taking as many reps as possible and it’s paying off. We haven’t won districts and then come out and do that and win regionals. The next step is to win state.”
Mustang pitcher Kiera McGahee delivers a pitch during the Broncos’ 12-1 regional championship win over Yukon on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Bronco Stadium. With the win, McGahee and the Broncos advance to the 6A state tournament for a third straight season. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Darity, who helped guide the Broncos to the quarterfinals in 2020 and the semifinals last year, says her team knows what is in store next weekend at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
“We’ve been there the last two years and now it’s time to finish the job,” she said. “We know the goal is to make it to that final game and take care of business. We get a chance to get back there and do that, so we’re excited about it.”
Mustang’s third-year coach is particularly thrilled to see the team’s five seniors win their first district championship and make it back to the state tournament. They now have the chance to check the final goal of their list.
“I’m just proud of them,” Darity said. “They’ve been through a lot and to get back there and stick with it goes to show a lot about them and their character. At one point they weren’t sure what their softball futures held, but they put that trust in us and trusted in the journey.
“I just can’t say enough about them.”
The Class 6A state tournament is set to start on Thursday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. Brackets will be posted to OSSAA.com when they are released.