For the first time since 2019, the Preston Lady Pirate varsity slowpitch softball team will make an appearance at the state tournament this Wednesday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Pirates punched their ticket to State for the first time in four years with an 11-1 victory over the Kellyville Lady Ponies in the consolation finals of the Class 4A regional softball championships in Preston.
The Preston diamond squad will begin a search for their first state slowpitch softball championship in 15 years at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in an opening-round meeting with third-ranked Oktaha. A win over the Lady Tigers will put the sixth-ranked Lady Pirates into Wednesday’s semifinal game at 4 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s opening- round meeting between second-ranked Prague and 10th-ranked Latta.
The Class 4A state championship game is scheduled to take place Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Preston began its regional tournament Friday with a 17-2 win over Kellyville, then saw their bid for a regional championship get derailed with a 16-8 loss to top-ranked Pocola in the championship game.
Kellyville kept its season alive with a hard-fought 1412 win over Heavener in the consolation semifinal contest.
In last Friday’s opening- round win over Kellyville, the Lady Pirates put the game out of reach in the first inning, erupting for 10 runs in the frame. The Preston squad added seven in the second for a commanding 17-0 advantage.
Kellyville tallied its two runs of the contest in the top of the third to award the Preston ladies the 17-2, run-rule, decision.
The top offensive performer for the Lady Pirates in the opening-round win was Na’Braijhanae Phillips, who finished 3 for 3 with two singles, a home run, and 4 RBIs. Phillips’ home run came on a 2-run blast in the second.
Other Preston batters with multi-hit games against Kellyville were Taylan Starr (2 for 3, single, double), Celeste Pineda (2 for 2, 2 singles, 2 RBIs), and Josie Cope (2 for 2, double, home run, 5 RBIs) with two hits apiece. Cope’s roundtripper came on a Grand Slam home run in the second.
The other Lady Pirate base hits in the opening-round win came on singles by Jaiden Harley, Jadyn Roberts, and Emilie Stidman and a Grand Slam home run in the first by Kristen Holuby.
In the regional championship, both teams tallied four runs in their half of the first for a 4-4 deadlock after one inning of action.
Pocola took the next two frames by margins of 4-1 and 4-3, respectively, for a 12-8 lead, then ended the game on the run rule, 16-8, in the bottom of the fifth with four runs in the inning.
The top offensive leaders for Preston in the regional title game were Jaiden Harley (2 for 3, double, home run, 3 RBIs), Kristen Holuby (2 for 3, 2 singles, RBI), and Josie Cope (2 for 2, double, home run, 2 RBIs) with two hits apiece. Harley’s home run came on a solo blast in the third, while Cope’s roundtripper came on a solo shot in the second.
The other Lady Pirate base hits against Pocola came on singles by Taylan Starr, Celeste Pineda, and McKenna Jones, triple by Jadyn Roberts, and RBI single by Kinlee Basquez.
In Friday’s consolation finals against Kellyville, the lone run for the Lady Ponies came in the top of the fifth.
Preston opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. The Lady Pirates added four in the second, two in the third, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth for the 11-1 victory and Preston’s first state appearance in slowpitch softball in four years.
Kristen Holuby (3 for 4, 2 singles, double, 2 RBIs) and Josie Cope (3 for 3, single, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs) led the way offensively for the Lady Pirates with three hits apiece. Cope’s roundtrippers came on solo shots in the third and fifth innings.
The trio of Celeste Pineda (2 for 2, single, triple, 3 RBIs), Jaiden Harley (2 for 4, single, double), and Emilie Stidman (2 for 3, single, triple) also recorded multi-hit games for Preston against Kellyville with two hits each.
The remaining Lady Pirate base hits in the consolation finals came on singles by Jadyn Roberts and McKenna Jones, a solo home run in the fifth by Kinlee Basquez, and a 2-run home run in the first by Na’Braijhanae Phillips.
— Class 4A Regional Tournament First Round
Preston 17, Kellyville 2
Kellyville:0-0-2 2-5-3 Preston: 10 – 7 – x 17 – 13 – 0 WP: Josie Cope LP: Butler HR: Kellyville: McGuire; Preston: Kristen Houlby, Josie Cope, Na’Braijhanae Phillips — Championship
Pocola 16, Preston 8
Preston:4-1-3-0-0 8-11-1 Pocola: 4 – 4 – 4 – 0 – 4 16 – 15 – 1 WP: Parga LP: Celeste Pineda HR: Preston: Josie Cope, Jaiden Harley; Pocola: Chitwood (2), Lairamore, Parker — Consolation Championship Preston 11, Kellyville 1
Kellyville:0-0-0-0-1-0 1-4-1 Preston: 2-4-2-0-2-1 11 – 16 – 4 WP: Josie Cope LP: Butler HR: Kellyville: No. 12; Preston: Kinlee Basquez, Josie Cope (2), Na’Braijhanae Phillips