By BOB CRAMER
A well-know sports adage says “it’s anybody’s game.” That’s how Yukon High School fast-pitch softball coach Katy Hoke feels about this week’s Class 6A regional at Deer Creek.
Hoke’s Millerettes (22-10) will play Putnam City (13-14) at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the double-elimination tournament as they try to secure a return trip to the state tournament.
Deer Creek (22-8) and Putnam City North (11-16) meet at 4 p.m. with the first-day winners set for a 6 p.m. matchup.
“You can’t take anybody lightly at this stage of the season,” Hoke said. “It’s really anybody’s game and nothing would surprise me.”
Yukon lost its last two games of the regular season, falling 14-6 to Piedmont on Oct. 3 and 6-1 to Edmond North on Friday.
Hoke said the Millerettes’ offense has been productive, but the team’s fielding let it down recently.
“We hit the ball well against Piedmont,” Hoke said, “but we had errors in the field in the Edmond North game.
“We’ve got to get our defense playing the way it’s capable.”
Hoke feels Yukon can compete with any team if it plays well defensively and the pitching induces ground-ball outs.
Junior right-hander Kaylee Bradley (16-8) will be in the circle for the Millerettes on Wednesday.
“This is her first year to be our main pitcher,” Hoke said. “It can be a game-changer if your pitcher can get ground balls. Pitchers can set the tone, but the offense and defense have to show up.”
Yukon sophomore second baseman A.J. Rayburn and junior shortstop MaKenna Johnson provide solid defense up the middle while also energizing the team’s batting.
Rayburn, No. 3 in the batting order, is hitting .475 with nine home runs and 34 runs batted in.
Johnson, the clean-up hitter, has a .480 average, five homers and 28 RBI.
The leadoff hitter, senior left fielder Hannah Hurtz, has Yukon’s top batting average at .495.
A year ago, the Millerettes defeated Mustang twice in the regional to advance to the state tournament.
At state, Yukon opened with a 3-2 win over Broken Arrow but lost 2-1 to Edmond North when the Huskies scored in the seventh inning of the semifinal.
Edmond North lost 8-4 to Westmoore in the championship.
Yukon finished last season with a 23-9 mark.