By BOB CRAMER
MUSTANG — Yukon High School struggled for six long years when its fast-pitch softball team played Mustang, Millerettes coach Katy Hoke said.
But Yukon’s players were feeling no pain Tuesday night after the most recent installment of Canadian County’s Bedlam Rivalry.
Millerette sophomore second baseman A.J. Rayburn pounded two home runs, and junior shortstop Makenna Johnson hit one to support Kaylee Bradley’s complete game on the mound.
Yukon defeated the Lady Broncos, 10-5, before about 250 fans on Senior Night at the Mustang High School Softball Complex.
“We hadn’t beaten them in six years, then beat them twice at regionals last year,” Hoke said.
“We’re doing some things right. Hopefully, we are having some things fall into place at the right time.”
Yukon (22-8) won for the fifth time in its last six games with Class 6A regionals less than two weeks away.
Mustang (20-8), which will host a regional, lost for the fourth time in its last five games.
Johnson sent a three-run homer soaring over the left-field fence off Mustang right-hander Landry Garza in the first inning.
Johnson went 1-for-2 at the plate with three walks.
Rayburn drilled a two-run homer over the center-field fence in the second inning, giving Yukon a 5-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Her blast drove Garza, the losing pitcher, from the game.
Rayburn was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs after hitting a solo homer in the seventh off Lauryn Cottrell, who had relieved Garza in the second inning.
Of the three homers, Hoke said, “They were huge momentum builders and fun to watch.”
Mustang coach Jamie Roberts said the homers came off her pitchers’ best offerings.
“A riseball, curveball and screwball,” Roberts said. “Our pitching just has to get better.”
Johnson didn’t know what she hit but added, “it was fat and down the middle. I was ready for it.”
Yukon’s Kaylee Witte and Ashlynn Bruce each had two hits and an RBI during two-run innings in the fourth and fifth that put the game out of reach.
Rayburn said she and Johnson probably have combined for at least 20 home runs this season.
The pair also contribute stingy defense up the middle; they turned two double plays against Mustang.
“It feels amazing,” Rayburn said of winning Bedlam. “We needed to get this under our belts going into regionals and hopefully state.”
Bradley, a junior right-hander, went seven innings and scattered 13 hits. But she yielded just two extra-base hits and walked only two, both in the first inning, while striking out none.
“She threw a good game,” Hoke said. “The (strike) zone was tight for both sides. She was getting a lot of ground balls. Her change-up was working well.”
Mustang’s pitchers struggled with their control, walking eight, and the defense committed four errors.
Mustang senior first baseman Micaela Harcrow had three hits, including a triple, and scored two runs. Teammate Cassie Passwaters went 3-for-4.
The team’s other two seniors, outfielder-catcher Kaytlin Peters and center fielder Kayla Mantooth, went 2-for-4 and 1-for-3, respectively.