By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY – Last season, Mustang thought the title was there. With a talented and experienced junior class, they were marching toward the 2016 state championship.
But along the way the Broncos ran into a scrappy Moore squad who knocked them out of the postseason.
Fast forward to Saturday evening and once again the Broncos found themselves on the verge of winning a 6A fast pitch state championship. And once again, it was the Lions who were standing in their way.
However, this time Mustang was not going to let anyone get in its way. They mowed over Moore 4-0 at the Softball Hall of Fame Stadium to win their second state championship in four years.
“Just for these seniors to go out with this championship, they started with it as freshmen, it just means so much,” Mustang coach Jamie Roberts said. “They really worked hard and put in so much time. It’s a very talented group. They lost out in the quarterfinals their sophomore year and semis last year. Just to be able to play Moore in the championship game, it’s just a really sweet victory.”
Kylie Dodson picked up her third win of the tournament. She allowed just three runs over that span.
Even though she didn’t have her best stuff against the Lions, she was able to grind out the shutout, while allowing a total of two hits.
“This is amazing,” Dodson said. “It’s such an honor. The key was our offense getting hits and making clutch plays when we needed them.”
Mustang’s Kaitlyn Thomas got the first hit of the game in the top of the second inning. The senior outfielder hit a towering double into centerfield. But Mustang was unable to knock her in.
Dodson gave up a double to start the second inning. She was then called for a balk, which advanced the Moore runner to third with no outs.
But once again, Dodson settled down and got three of the next four batters out. That included a diving catch from Thomas who sprinted in from left field to make the play.
“She is amazing,” Zoe Jones said of Dodson. “I just have so much trust in her. I think that she knows she can pitch her game because she has a strong defense behind her.”
Thomas continued to make an impact in the fourth with a double. Two plays later, Dodson laid down a sacrifice bunt that knocked in a runner. Mustang led 1-0.
Despite some control problems, Dodson didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and she was still able to keep the Lions from scoring.
Kenzie Donihoo and Audrie Morrison each reached base to start the fifth. Amelya Huggins put down a run scoring bunt to give Mustang a 2-0 advantage. Karis Clark added another RBI to push the Broncos in front 3-0.
In the seventh, the Broncos kept on rolling. Huggins laced a double into centerfield that scored a run. On her way around first base, she gave her coach an emphatic high-five. That was pretty much the end of the contest.
Dodson pitched the seventh and shutdown the Lions to end the game and the 2017 season the way they had planned.
“It’s amazing,” said Jones who is verbally committed to Texas Tech University. “We started high school with a state title and we ended it with a state title.”