The Navajo High School softballers qualified for the class 3A slow pitch state tournament last week by defeating Rush Springs and Merritt at Mangum in the Regional Tournament.
Mangum defeated Merritt in the first game and Navajo beat Rush Springs 12-9 to set up a Navajo-Mangum final.
In the Rush Springs game Kalee Cross and Gracee Bates led the offense with three hits each. Cross had two doubles. Kara Cook drove in three runs and Kaylen Carroll doubled in two runs, as the Indians pounded out 17 hits.
Taylor Harrison pitched all sevens innings for the win.
In the final, Navajo jumped out to a five-run lead, but couldn’t hold on as Mangum won 18-6 to advance as the winner. Navajo had 11 hits, led by Cook and Bates with two each.
The Indians came back in the consolation game against Merritt and played one of their best games of the season, winning 12-0. Tiny Booker started things with a home run in the second inning to give Navajo a one-run lead. The game was suspended Thursday due to lightning. On Friday, play was resumed in the top of the fourth inning. The game stayed one to nothing until the Indians erupted for five runs in the sixth. Karlee McCombs led off with a monster home run to right center followed by an Amber Gibbons single. Emmy Cobb and Cook added singles. Booker doubled and Carroll tripled to finish the scoring.
In the seventh, the rout continued with a Cross single, a Cambrie Thornton triple, a McCombs double, a Julia Pelletier single and Cobb reached on fielder’s choice. Bates followed with a single. Booker and Cook added doubles to plate six more runs.
Harrison’s pitching, backed by stellar defense, closed out Merritt in the final frame and the celebration was on.
Navajo faces Wister 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the state tournament. It is the Indians’ second trip to slow pitch state tournament, following a 2012 entry. The one-day tournament is held at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.