Starr tosses no-hitter, hits for cycle in Preston’s super regional sweep of Wister
For the first time since 2001, the Preston Lady Pirate varsity fastpitch softball team will be making an appearance at the state fastpitch championships.
The Lady Pirates ended a 21-year state tournament appearance drought last Thursday afternoon with a pair of run-rule wins over the Wister Lady Wildcats at the Jim Waller Sports Complex in Preston.
The sweep of Wister came in one of eight Class 2A super regional tournaments.
The Preston squad took the first game of the Best-of-3 series by an 11-0 margin, then ended the lengthy state tournament appearance hiatus in Game 2 with a 19-0 victory over the Lady Wildcats.
The last time the Lady Pirates competed at the state fastpitch championships, they were one away from capturing their first-ever state championship in school history in fastpitch softball.
In the 2001 state tournament appearance, the Lady Pirates opened the 3-day event with a 9-2 victory over Velma-Alma, then punched their ticket to the Class 2A title game with a 1-0 victory over Commerce. The Preston squad fell one win shy of their first-ever fastpitch softball state championship with a 2-1 loss to Adair in 10 innings in the championship game.
The Preston squad, who enters the Class 2A state fastpitch championships with a 32-5 record, will be joined at the 3-day event by the winners of the other seven super regional tournaments – Dale (36-3), Pocola (29-4), Oktaha (31-7), Latta (32-7), Haskell (29-8), Fairland (27-7), and Wyandotte (27-8).
The Class 2A state fastpitch championships are scheduled to get underway Thursday at the Firelake Ballpark in Shawnee. The Lady Pirates’ first-round opponent will be the 2022 state runner-up Pocola Lady Indians at 6:30 p.m. on Field 3 at the Shawnee softball complex.
A win over Pocola will put the Preston diamond squad into Friday’s semifinal round at 2:30 p.m. on Field 2 against the winner of Thursday’s opening-round meeting between Oktaha and Fairland, while a first-round loss to the Lady Indians will bring the Lady Pirates’ dreams of a first-ever state fastpitch championship in school history and 2023 season to a close.
The Class 2A state fastpitch softball championship game is scheduled to take place Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Oklahoma State University softball field in Stillwater.
In last Thursday’s opening game of the Best-of-3 series at the Preston Super Regional, the Lady Pirates broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the bottom of the second. The Preston squad added a run in the third and six in the fourth for an 11-0 advantage.
The Lady Pirate defense kept the Lady Wildcats off the scoreboard in the top of the fifth to end Game 1 on the run rule, 11-0.
The Preston offense in Game 1 was led by the quartet of Emilie Stidman (2 for 3, single, triple, RBI), Kristen Holuby (2 for 2, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs), Josie Cope (2 for 3, 2 doubles), and Mazie Flud (2 for 2, single, home run, 3 RBIs) with two hits apiece. Flud’s roundtripper came on a 3-run blast in the 6-run fourth.
The other four Lady Pirate base hits in Game 1 came on a single by Taylan Starr, RBI single by Na’Braijhanae Phillips, RBI double by Caris Tecumseh, and solo home run in the fourth by Celeste Pineda, who also had an RBI groundout in the second.
Other Preston baserunners in the shutout win were Holuby (walk), Pineda (walk), and Kinlee Basquez (fielder’s choice). Basquez drove in the solo run in the third with an RBI sacrifice fly.
Starr went the distance in the circle for Preston to earn the pitching win. Starr struck out 13 and walked four in five no-hit innings of work.
In last Thursday’s second super regional contest, the host Lady Pirates drew first scoring blood with four runs in the bottom of the first. The Preston offense then erupted for 10 runs in the second and added three in the third and two in the fourth to put the finishing touches on the 19-0 victory, the super regional championship, and the Lady Pirates’ first trip to the fastpitch state tournament in 22 years.
Taylan Starr (4 for 4, single, double, triple, home run, 3 RBIs) and Na’Braijhanae Phillips (4 for 4, 3 singles, home run, 5 RBIs) were the top offensive performers for Preston in the decisive Game 2 with four hits apiece. Phillips’ home run came on a 3-run blast in the first.
Starr began her bid for the cycle with a single in the first, then added an RBI double and 2-run home run in the 10run second, and a triple in the fourth.
Kinlee Basquez also recorded a multi-hit game for the Lady Pirates in Game 2, finishing 2 for 4, single, double, and 3 RBIs.
The other five Preston base hits in the Game 2 shutout win came on singles by Kristen Holuby and Josie Cope, an RBI double by Caris Tecumseh, an RBI triple by Celeste Pineda, and a solo home run in the first by Mazie Flud. Pineda also had an RBI sacrifice fly in the second for the Lady Pirates.
Other Preston baserunners in Game 2 were Holuby (2 walks, error), Cope (walk, error), Flud (error), Pineda (error), and Emilie Stidman (2 errors). Stidman drove in one of the two Lady Pirate runs in the fourth with an RBI sacrifice fly.
Basquez went the distance in the circle for Preston to earn the pitching win, allowing no runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings of work.
— Class 2A Super Regionals First Game
Preston 11, Wister 0
Wister:0-0-0-0-0 0-0-0 Preston: 0 – 4 – 1 – 6 – x 11 – 12 – 0 WP: Taylan Starr LP: Punk HR: Preston: Mazie Flud, Celeste Pineda — Championship
Preston 19, Wister 0
Wister:0-0-0-0-0 0-6-8 Preston: 4 – 10 – 3 – 2 – x 19 – 15 – 0 WP: Kinlee Basquez LP: Punk HR: Preston: Taylan Starr, Na’Braijhanae Phillips, Mazie Flud