By Michael Kinney
It took four days, but the Mustang softball team finally got through with its regional tournament Saturday. They defeated Westmoore 9-5 in the finale to earn a spot in the state tournament.
The Lady Broncos will open the state tourney Thursday when they face Broken Arrow in the first round 4 p.m. today.
Kylie Dodson will take the circle for Mustang, as she looks to close out her season in stellar fashion.
Heading into the regional tourney, Dodson was riding a streak of three-straight shutouts. She added a fourth when Mustang beat Lawton 11-0.
“I didn’t even know I’d done it until (coach) said that,” Dodson said after her third shutout. “We’re just flowing.”
While Dodson may not have noticed, her coach sure did.
“Kylie’s just found her groove,” Mustang coach Jamie Roberts said. “She’s just got a whole other level of confidence out there in the circle. She’s got a lot of confidence in her defense. The fact that we’re scoring lots of runs, I think that helps give her that little bit of an edge in the circle as well.”
The type of season Dodson has had would be impressive under normal situations. However, she is coming off her junior year, which she injured her knee and missed much of the year.
After a strenuous offseason, Dodson came back and looked like she had not missed a beat. However, it wasn’t until late in the season that Dodson felt she was 100 percent back to form.
“The Tuttle game at our UCO-OC tournament,” Dodson said. “They’re one of the best teams. Their pitcher is going to OU and they won state last year and we killed them. We made them look foolish up there.”
“Not only has she thrown some shut-outs, but she’s beaten defending state champion Tuttle, great ball club,” Roberts said. “She threw one heck of a game against Carl Albert, another team that’s the top of their class. Then she threw a shut-out against Owasso. I just knew that she’s where we need her to be.”
As Dodson has made her way back from the injuries, her friend and teammate, Amelia May Huggins, has been there every step with her. She says Dodson has never loss any confidence in herself
“Kylie, she really doesn’t have a lot of emotion when she’s on the mound,” Huggins said. “She’s a go, go, go type of person. Nothing really affects her. Just recently she’s been in the same groove. She has a lot of confidence. I have a lot of confidence in her. She’s Kylie Dodson. That’s what people think when they play Mustang. Oh, we have to face Kylie Dodson. She’s a lot more confident in herself, in the coaches, in me, in our players. Her mound presence, you can just tell she has lot more confidence. Now that she knows her knee won’t bother her, her confidence is great.”
It’s been a complete team effort for the Broncos to earn a spot at state. It’s going to take everyone on the roster to earn the state championship at the end of this week.
But if Dodson is on her game, it puts the Broncos in a much better position to end her career with a title.
“I feel like they have a lot of confidence in me when I’m back there and they expect me to get it done,” Dodson said. “I feel like we’re ready to take on the state right now.”