By BOB CRAMER
Watching Yukon power hitters slam three home runs over the outfield fences wasn’t exactly what Mustang coach Jamie Roberts wanted to see on Senior Night.
But lately, not much has gone as planned for Roberts’ Mustang fast-pitch softball team.
A.J. Rayburn belted two homers, and Makenna Johnson hit another Tuesday night as Yukon overpowered the Lady Broncos, 10-5, in the Bedlam Rivalry before about 250 fans at the Mustang High School Softball Complex.
The setback was Mustang’s fourth in the last five games.
The Lady Broncos (20-8) will host a regional after clinching the District 6A-1 title last week, but are slumping at a bad time.
“I’d rather lose them now instead of in regionals,” Roberts said. “We’re playing the best of the best. These are the games that help prepare you for regionals.”
Mustang’s veteran coach hoped to get her team ready for the playoffs with a late-season schedule that includes some of the best teams in Oklahoma — Yukon and Westmoore (Class 6A), Newcastle, Tuttle and Fort Gibson (4A) and Binger-Oney (A).
The Lady Broncos will try to get back on track “with a short-term memory,” Roberts said, hopeful her team can regain its confidence and momentum.
Yukon’s Johnson, a junior shortstop, went 1-for-2 with three walks. She blasted a three-run homer to left field in the first inning.
Johnson wasn’t sure what type of pitch she hit but said, “Fat and down the middle. I was ready for it.”
Rayburn, a sophomore second baseman, went 2-for-4 and slammed a two-run shot to center field in the second inning.
Both round trippers were off Mustang right-hander Landry Garza.
Rayburn also drilled a solo homer in the seventh inning for Yukon, which used two-run innings in the fourth and sixth to put the game out of reach.
The early homers had staked the Millerettes to a 5-1 lead they would not relinquish while driving Garza from the mound.
Lauryn Cottrell relieved her.
“Our pitching just has to get better,” Roberts said. “The homers were on our pitchers’ best pitches: a riseball, curveball and screwball.”
Lady Bronco pitchers surrendered 10 hits, four for extra bases, and walked eight batters. Their defense committed four errors.
Yukon (22-8), which had been dominated in recent years by the Lady Broncos, has won the last three Bedlam contests.
“We hadn’t beaten them in six years, then beat them twice in regionals last year,” said Millerette coach Katy Hoke, whose club has won five of its last six games.
“We’re doing some things right,” she said. “Hopefully, we are having some things fall into place at the right time.”
Rayburn and Johnson, displaying stingy defense up the middle, turned two double plays. They were excited about the victory.
“It feels amazing,” Rayburn said. “We needed to get this under our belts going into regionals and hopefully state.”
Mustang rapped 13 hits but only two for extra bases against right-hander Kaylee Bradley. The Millerette junior went seven innings and walked just two, both in the first inning.
Senior first baseman Micaela Harcrow paced the Lady Broncos at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs. Sophomore catcher-third baseman Cassie Passwaters also was 3-for-4.
Mustang’s other two seniors, catcher-outfielder Kaytlin Peters and center fielder Kayla Mantooth, were 2-for-4 and 1-for-3, respectively.
The previous night, the Lady Broncos yielded five homers and lost to Tuttle, 17-5.
Mustang clinched the 6A-1 title Sept. 29, outhitting Putnam City, 10-5, to end with a 12-2 district mark.
The Lady Broncos return to action with a Friday doubleheader, hosting Westmoore at 2:30 p.m. and Fort Gibson at 7 p.m.