Sooners overcome frenetic start to roll past Tech

By Michael Kinney

Norman – Jordan Thomas said they vowed it would never happen again. Ever since Texas Tech ripped apart the defense, Oklahoma defenders reminded themselves of that poor display almost every day and said it wouldn’t happen again.

But when the two teams faced off Saturday, it looked early on like an encore presentation was heading Oklahoma’s way.

But the Sooners settled down and prevailed 49-27 at Memorial Stadium.

We were a little anxious about playing, but once we settled in and trusted our technique everything went well,” DJ Ward said. “There was emotion on the sideline, but nothing over the top. Guys just put a spark under us and we started playing.

The win sets up a matchup Saturday in Stillwater between No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State.

We’ve played in a lot of big games. We know the importance of this game to the conference, this game to the rivalry that it is,” said Lincoln Riley on Bedlam. “We know how good of a team Coach (Mike) Gundy has up there this year and they’ve had good teams there for a long time. It’s going to be a good game and it’s been for the last several years. It’s a great rivalry and we’re looking forward to it.”

Oklahoma and Texas Tech did everything possible to make their matchup a repeat of last year’s high scoring affair. In the first quarter alone, they combined for 34 points, 389 yards and zero points.

The way the defenses looked, both teams were on pace to hit the 80 point mark.

The Sooners looked particularly disorganized as they allowed the Red Raiders to get anything they wanted. They quickly scrapped the zone defense they had been playing in the first and went to a man to man concept.

In the first quarter they were prepared for what we were doing,” Caleb Kelly said, “and then Coach (Mike Stoops) switched the defense and then they were not prepared for that so it just worked out for us.”

The offenses slowed down considerably in the second quarter and the Sooners held a 28-20 halftime advantage.

But once the third quarter came back around, the teams were on the move again. Baker Mayfield scored a one-yard run on the first possession of the quarter. The Red Raiders answered right back to close the gap to 35-27.

The Sooners went back up by 15 after Mayfield and Mark Andrews connected for a touchdown. Each time Texas Tech came up with a big drive, Oklahoma always seemed to have a response.

That was the plan,” CeeDee Lamb said. “Texas Tech is a very high-powered offense and they’re very good at doing what they do. We just felt like we need to be good at what we do and execute offensively and put points on the board.”

The Oklahoma defense got the ball back from the Red Raiders. Mayfield tried to put the game away with a deep pass to Andrews along the Oklahoma sideline. However, the pass was overthrown and intercepted by the Red Raiders.

Yet, all that did was delay the inevitable. The defense once again forced Texas Tech to punt and the Sooners drove the ball down the field. This time Mayfield found Lamb in the endzone for his second score of the game. He was crushed by a Tech defender, but held onto the ball.

He definitely did (grow up tonight),” Mayfield said of Lamb. “Going up when he knows he was going to get hit by a safety like that and securing the ball, holding on to it, and popping right back up to be fine, we haven’t had a guy like that here in a while. He’s a great playmaker, but also a physical presence.”

Lamb’s score put Oklahoma up 49-27 heading into the fourth quarter. Texas Tech got no closer.

Mayfield finished the night with 281 yards and five total touchdowns. Lamb had nine catches for 147 yards.

But it was the running of Rodney Anderson that set the tone for Oklahoma. He finished with 181 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“It feels pretty good just to get out there behind my offensive line again and run behind them,” Anderson said. “They’ve been doing a great job, the fullbacks too, opening up holes for me.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

Piedmont runner making his own way to state

By Michael Kinney

One of the first cross country meets of the season just happened to take place at Piedmont in the second week of August. Under the hot summer sun, Jadon Barker made his first varsity start for the Pioneers and it didn’t go particularly well.

Barker ran a 19:25 over the 5K course. That was good for 21st place and one spot from getting a medal.

Fast-forward to Oct. 21 and Piedmont is competing for the 5A boys regional title and a spot at the state meet.

This time around Barker wasn’t on the outside looking in. He shaved almost two minutes off his time from August and ran a 17:27 to take seventh place, which would have automatically qualified him for the 5A state cross country championships if Piedmont hadn’t qualified as a team by taking second behind Guyman.

The Pioneers are still the team to beat in class 5A boys, but they can expect challenges from Guyman and Carl Albert.

For the 5A girls, Bishop Kelly, Elgin and Clarmore look to battle for the team title.

In class 6A boys and girls, it’s all about four schools. Norman, Bartlesville, Owasso and Deer Creek.

The 5A/6A State Cross Country Championships will take place at Edmond Santa Fe. First race will start at 10 a.m.

“At state I want to be second on our team like I was (at regionals) and get a considerable amount below my PR,” Barker said. “And help our team win state. I am really invested in the team this year.”

The fact Barker will be competing at state is something that was implausible to him a year ago.

“If I had told myself last year where I am right now,” Barker said, “there is no way I would have believed it.”

That’s because as a sophomore Barker was running with the Piedmont junior varsity squad. Even more amazing is that he was the No. 4 or No. 5 runners at most of the JV meets.

Barker’s rise up the ranks has even surprised his head coach Kelly Beck.

“He’s been kind of a mid JV kid for two years,” Beck said. “Had a really great track season last year. Had a great summer and just came in this year and has just been fantastic. I’ve not seen an improvement out of a kid like that before in my life. He is probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. And he is also one of the best competitors. He has the heart, he has the drive to be good. He puts it all out there. He is pretty impressive.”

Barker wasn’t satisfied with the role he had the two previous seasons and knew a transformation was in store.

“The big thing is I changed my diet,” Barker said. “I changed my lifestyle. I changed it so my life revolves around running. And definitely pushing myself in practice helps a lot.”

The inspiration behind the transformation for Barker was a simple one. He loves to run and wanted to continue it past high school.

“I did it because we had a chance of getting to state,” Barker said. “And I just recently took up the goal of running in college and I want to be able to do that.”

That may seem like long odds for a runner who didn’t reach varsity until his junior season. But Barker has proven he doesn’t care about the odds.

Barker was born without the radius bones on both his arms and without a section of his palate. Yet, after countless surgeries Barker refuses to look at it as a disability or slow him down.

“This is something I was born with,” Barker said. “I don’t really make it about that because I have never really had that much difficultly with it. I don’t like to make it about it. I like to make it about running.”

Beck can attest to Barker’s self reliance.

“He is one of those kids who doesn’t ask for help. He ants to do it by himself,” Beck said. “That’s always kind of been the way he’s been. I talked to some of him elementary school teachers, middle school teachers and they say the same thing. Just a hard working kid. It’s just great to see a kid like that succeed at the highest level.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com. Story first ran on OKmilesplit.com

Hoodie Melo part of the Carmelo package

By Michael Kinney

It’s called Hoodie Melo. That is the name fans of Carmelo Anthony have given his alter ego.

It started when Anthony was in New York and he wore a hoodie almost every time he was working out.

The alter-ego soon became as popular on social media sites as Anthony in real-life. Mostly due to Anthony’s workout partner, Chris Brickley.

When he was traded to Oklahoma City, the hoodie look came with him.

But that is when a funny thing happened. The look caught on in the most unexpected of places. Conservative Oklahoma.

“I guess it’s a good thing,” Anthony said Thursday before the Thunder left for Minnesota. “I can say I’ve turned something that was not so good of a situation and the hoodie became a blessing to me.”

Hoodie Melo emerge during a turbulent time in Anthony’s career. He was at odds with Knicks President Phill Jackson and much of the New York fan base believed he was past his prime and unable to carry a team.

In the videos that showed up in Instagram and Twitter, Hoodie Melo was in attack mode during workouts. It showed him practicing at 2 a.m. or running sprints in the dead of night.

Anthony was letting Hoodie Melo speak for him.

“The Hoodie Melo thing, you know, for me it was just — actually, it started with a beanie. I was just in the gym, and I didn’t have a haircut, and I’m just going to go and throw a hat on,” Anthony said last month at media day. “I wanted to sweat. I just started working back out in the summer. And then from there it went to a hoodie and it got out and the phenomenon started.”

Then the hoodie became more than just a workout outfit. It became a suit of armor for the beleaguered all-star..

“For me, it was just showing a different focus that I have, a different motivation,” Anthony said. “Kind of just locking into what I have to do and locking myself into the gym and locking myself into focusing in on my body because I didn’t know what was going to happen. So it was just so much going on that was surrounding me that I just wanted to find a way that I could just focus in. That’s when Hoodie Melo was created.

Yet, even Anthony had no idea how fast Hoodie Melo would catch on in Oklahoma. Or how it would turn from a way to block out the noise surrounding him to a way to connect to his new fans with the Thunder.

“I think the timing of it was a perfect timing,” Anthony said. “It gives it new life, it gives it new energy. A new focus. Rather than just focus on my time spent in New york or the past couple of years, I think it gives everybody some new energy, some new motivation. The timing is perfect. It went from one situation to being a blessing for me right now.”

When Anthony was told he made the hoodie cool, all he had to say was “Stay Melo” as Hoodie Melo walked off.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

Carmelo, Westbrook have George’s back in win over Pacers

By Michel Kinney

Coach Billy Donovan said it was going to be a process. Even before his Oklahoma City Thunder lost two of their first three games, the third year coach knew his squad was going to having growing pains as they learned to play together.

Yet, a two game losing streak is still a two game losing streak. So when they took on the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, they were facing their first hurdle of the Big 3 Era.

All it took to end the losing streak was a Russell Westbrook triple double a strong shooting night from Carmelo Anthony as Thunder (2-2) prevailed 114-96.

“It’s coming. It’s coming,” Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s going to take time. We all knew it was going to take time. But everyday we’re getting closer and closer to where we want to be at.”

RUSS IN CONTROL

Westbrook posted 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and 16 assists. It was his second triple double of the season.

“The floor general,” Paul George described Westbrook. “He pushed the tempo, made the easy for everybody. Got himself going. He made the plays. He was the engine tonight.”

Anthony carried the Thunder early and ended the night with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Steven Adams added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

For the Pacers, it was Victor Oladipo who seemed to be the only player ready to play. In his first game in Oklahoma City since being traded over the off season, he led all scores with 35 points.

“I thought we did a good job of setting the tone defensively,” Westbrook said.

PG13 STRUGGLES

The only member of the Thunder Big 3 not get his game going was George as the former Pacer continues his early season struggles. He scored 10 points before fouling out after only 19 minutes of action.

But unlike his time in Indiana, George was playing along side players who can also carries teams

“I think that’s why we all committed to this journey, committed to this team, because of nights like this” Anthony said. “Even though one of our big pieces didn’t have a great game tonight, we had other guys step up, so we didn’t have to rely on him as much as in maybe other games. That’s the beauty of us coming together as we have on a team like this where on any given night we’re all going to have bad nights, off nights, but other guys can step up.”

BOARD WORK

One of the biggest differences from the last two contests was the work the Thunder put in on the backboards. They won the rebounding battle 49-41. That was something they were unable to do in the two defeats.

“It was really important,” George said. “It’s something we’ve been trying to do here while playing so small. It translated. It carried over from what we’ve been preaching.”

WESTBROOK’S ROUTINE

Maybe the only part of the game Westbrook struggled in was his free throw shooing. He shot 6 of 10 from the line.

Westbrook has already missed 12 shots from the charity stripe this season. It’s something he admits he needs to work on.

“I have to concentrate, I have to change my routine up,” Westbrook said. “I usually shoot it and walk back behind the three(point line), and I’m not allowed to do that because of this new rule. I’ve been doing that since high school. So, just got to figure it out, find a different routine where I can take some time, take a deep breath. Just figure it out.”

Next game: Oct. 27 at Minnesota.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer at Eyeamtruth.com. Photo by Torrey Purvey.

Sooners continue to survive & advance

By Michael Kinney

It’s hard to make sense of this year’s Oklahoma Sooners. One week they are beating the brakes off Ohio State, a few weeks later they are losing to former Big 12 doormat Iowa State.

The past two outings OU has struggled to hold off Texas and Kansas State, a pair of teams that can be labeled average at best.

I think that’s just the team we are right now. We’re getting better,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’re learning more about ourselves and what it takes to play at a high level. And when we don’t do it, what some of the causes are. I don’t think it has been the same thing each week. The only way to put it is we’ve sprung different leaks. It’s not always been the same leak.”

Despite up and down play, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s faith in his team doesn’t seem to waver. Fresh off a comeback victory over the Wildcats, the Heisman trophy candidate says the Sooners haven’t come closing to reaching their potential yet.

You don’t wanna peak too early as a team,” Mayfield said. “We’re building right now.”

For those that have an optimistic point of view, that is a great statement to hear. But for those who ride the pessimistic train, it doesn’t mean too much.

Since Oklahoma beat Ohio State in early September, they have looked like anything but a national title contender.

We know we are a good team,” Ogbonnia Okoronkwo said. “We know we just have to put it all together. We do a lot of good things. I just feel like our team just needs to find a rhythm and stick with it.”

One of the things Okoronkwo said the team does do well is fight back when they do get down. When they trailed 21-7 on the road against Kansas State, he believes that was the best football the Sooners have played this season.

Oklahoma made the comeback with Mayfield not being 100 percent healthy. He missed practice all of last week due to a right shoulder injury. But Mayfield said it didn’t bother him on game day, which was exemplified in Mayfield running over defenders instead of sliding. He said he chose to return to that style because he sense his team needed a little jump.

I went through some pain last week. But I said it was an injury that you fight through,” Mayfield said. “Football is a violent game. You’re gonna have bumps and bruises. You have to suck it up and go play.”

Yet, Riley says it’s not just Mayfield who has shown the same willingness to fight through adversity.

We have a lot of guys playing through a lot of stuff right now that is not out,” Riley said. “But a lot of guys are persevering and fighting through some things.. You see that fight in our team all the way around. That’s why we are able to come back and win in a place like that when you don’t start off well.”

Oklahoma returns home this week to take on Texas Tech. The same squad that rang up 59 points and 700 yards in a loss in Lubbock last year.

I’m very excited about this week. Great chance to get back home,” Riley said. “First true night game at home this year. We’re looking forward to it. Hopefully our fans, our crowd are excited about it. Big game against Texas Tech. One of the best offenses year in and year out. This year is no different.

This is going to be our biggest recruiting weekend of the year. We will expect to play well and have a great atmosphere behind us at 7 p.m. Saturday.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

Thunder open in defensive state of mind

By Michael Kinney

Before Oklahoma city took the court in the home opener Thursday, Russell Westbrook was asked a probing question during morning shoot-around.

The veteran was asked what do the Thunder have to do to become the No. 1 defensive team in the NBA? Westbrook answered matter of factually “defend.” When he was asked if he could expound, the sometimes moody point guard said no.

While Westbrook’s answers may have come off as petulant, in actuality, he was correct in what he said and how he said it.

For a number of years Oklahoma City has preached about being a defensive team. Doing the dirty work needed to shut down the high scoring offenses in the league today.

For the most part, that has been exactly that – all talk. Except for a few stretches during the postseason, it’s a concept that hasn’t fully been embraced by the entire team.

The Thunder seem to know that can’t be the case this year. This version of the Thunder has to be dedicated to being a solid defensive squad if they are to compete with Golden State, Houston, San Antonio and the rest of the Western Conference hierarchy.

For at least one game, the Thunder showed defense is not just something they talk about doing. In their season opener Thursday night, they defeated the New York Knicks 105-84 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. I thought we played better offensively in terms of just more fluid in the second half, but the biggest thing for us was just our defense,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I’ve been really pleased with that, you know, since the start of training camp they have done a really good job defensively.”

On their way to the 21 point victory, the Thunder held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point range. They also forced 25 turnovers and held a 35-8 fastbreak advantage.

Even Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with 31 points and 12 boards, missed 14 of his 25 shots.

“Schematically trying to do the things that we are asking to do and I think by playing great defense, especially this early in the season, where probably most teams are trying to find their way, gives you at least a little bit of room where if you don’t have a great offensive night or you are trying to figure it out offensively you can really fall back to your defense,” Donovan said. “For a first game, there will be a lot of things we can take from this I think and grow from and learn from and try to make improvements.”

Throughout the preseason, a number of Oklahoma City players talked about what they wanted to see from their team on the defensive end.

That’s because offensively, the Thunder were exactly what we thought they were. With the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the roster, scoring is not going to be a problem. Against New York, Oklahoma City shot 39 of 90 from the field for 43 percent. That will improve.

However, on a side note, there was one offensive statistic that did stand out. After averaging just 26 three-pointers per game last season, the Thunder seemed to have joined the rest of the NBA in believing chicks dig the long ball.

Oklahoma City attempted 38 three pointers against New York. They made only 11 of them.

But all that was secondary to what the Thunder put forth on the defensive side. The question remains, is that the same level of effort fans can expect to see for the rest of the season.

“That’s what we pride ourselves on, our defense leading to our offense and holding teams to under 100 points,” OKC guard Andre Robertson said. “Like we talked about all preseason long, trying to be the number one defensive team. These are all things that go into it and we are taking it day by day to get better on it.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

Thunder enter season with questions & high expectations

By Michael Kinney

When the curtain came down on the 2016-17 NBA season, there wasn’t a ton of hope surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise. Despite Russell Westbrook earning the MVP and setting a record for triple doubles, the ease in which they were taken out of the playoffs by the Houston Rockets erased the good feelings that had been built up in regular season.

When General Manager Sam Presti, coach Billy Donovon, Westbrook and the rest of the team completed their exit interviews and left for the offseason, no one outside or inside the franchise knew what was in store. No one saw the momentous offseason moves the Thunder would make that brought Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to one of the smallest markets in the NBA.

When the Thunder take the court for the first time Thursday against the New York Knicks at Chesapeake Energy Arena, they will be one of the most captivating and most interesting team in the league. But, what remains to be seen, is will the moves Oklahoma City made be enough to compete for an NBA championship.

For the central figures who the Thunder will revolve around this season, the stars seem to have come together to give them a shot at winning the ultimate prize.

“We get criticized a lot for being friendly and not being able to do it alone. Honestly, in this league, it’s hard to do it alone,” said George. “You know, Russ averages a triple-double, and, you know, he couldn’t get out of the first round. That’s a special talent and a guy that did everything he could to win. But you just need, you know, you need guys of that stature and that level to be able to help and create something special. It’s just that era where you’ve got to face teams that are going to have two or three guys that can take over games and be iconic to this league. So, I do. I do think you have to have that to compete in this league.”

Along with George and Anthony, the Thunder also brought in Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson to a team that went 47-35 last year. Other than the defending champion Golden State Warriors, it can easily be said the Thunder have the deepest roster in the Western Conference.

But that doesn’t mean the Thunder do not have any questions surrounding them as they enter the season. One of the biggest is how do three players who are as great as Westbrook, Anthony and George split up one ball?

“There’s a balance from the standpoint that you want to be able to allow those guys to do some of those things because they’re really good at it,” Donovan said. “They understand the importance is going to be how well we can move the basketball.”

As of now, that doesn’t seem to be an issue for the players involved. All have said they will do what is best for the team and see no problems sharing the rock.

“Offensively, it is about guys being aggressive and not trying to be overly passive, trying to make the right play all the time,” Anthony said. “Essentially playing basketball, letting it flow, letting it happen.”

For Anthony, playing the Knicks in the opener has special meaning. He was the headliner in New York for xx years before being traded to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

“This is an important game for me because it’s an opportunity to go out there and close that chapter,” Anthony said. “I don’t think that chapter has been closed yet. I think (Thursday), running out there with a different uniform kind of closes that chapter.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com.   Story first ran at The Yukon Review

 

Some styles never go out of style

In October of 2011 I wrote a story about how then OU-wide receiver had created a buzz around Oklahoma with his hairstyle called Rock Star Status. Six years later, that style is still going strong (Photo above at Payneless Image). Below is the initial article that ran.

By Michael Kinney

When Kenny Stills arrived at the University of Oklahoma last year, it was easy to see something was different about him. On the field, his talent spoke for itself. But it was the off-the-field flair that garnered the California native a huge fan following.

So it was only a slight shock when Stills showed up to start this season sporting a blown-out, blonde mohawk.

“The hair was a simple decision I made,” Stills said before the season began. “Somebody told me I wouldn’t do it, so I did. I am big on controversy, doing stuff that people told me I can’t do. People always tell me I can’t do stuff. People told me I couldn’t play Division I football, that I was more of a soccer player and not a football player. Look where I’m at now.”

However, what Stills couldn’t have known at the time was the influence his hair would have on kids. It has taken on a life of its own. It even has its own Twitter account.

Corey Sutter, who goes by the name Mr. Scissorhands, is a longtime barber in Oklahoma City at Fades R Us. He has been cutting Stills’ hair since last year.

“Man, that is all we’ve been getting,” Sutter said. “The Kenny Stills haircut. I call it Rock Star Status.”

One of the people who loved the cut from the moment he saw it on Stills was Jackson Stallings. The junior is an H-back and outside linebacker for Southmoore High. He said the player and hairstyle go hand-in-hand and it’s easy to see why it has become so popular in the state.

“It’s just swaggin,” Stallings said. “That’s all it is. It’s real cool. He’s a great player. When you are a great player and you have something cool going, everybody is going to start doing it. That’s what got people started. The way he plays, he embodies his haircut. He is just all over the place. He makes plays. He is crazy, he’s wild. He’s just fun to watch. His personality goes along with his game.”

Stallings wanted to get the Rock Star Status cut for himself, along with two other teammates. But he decided if he was going to get it, he would do it for a good cause. Instead of trying to copy Stills, on Wednesday he had Sutter dye his hair black and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Stallings wanted to bring attention to a cause that was close to his heart. And he could think of no better way than to emulate one of his favorite players.

“One of my best friends since I was younger, Jhames West, his mom passed away a couple of years ago due to breast cancer,” Stallings said. “She was a big part of my life, very influential in my life. I thought I would take it a step further this week and put the pink in the back of the hair with the breast cancer ribbon on the side. Just to show that she is someone that means a lot to me in my life. We remember all those who have fallen to breast cancer, as well.”

Stallings went as far as to go to Sutter, who takes care of many of the Oklahoma players. Sutter has been cutting hair since he was in high school. And he has never seen a certain style pick up traction so quickly and turn into a trend.

Along with the shark design that Travis Lewis began sporting this season, Sutter said most of his work these days revolves around the Sooners.

“I’m surprised, but at the same time, I’m blessed because it’s just bringing more business in,” Sutter said. “It’s something I’ve never seen. Somebody with a mohawk with just the back part blonde, and he wears it wild. I’ve never seen that. And I’ve never seen anybody that plays football with a shark in their head, unless the name of the team is the Sharks.

“We had a lady that brought her son all the way from Weatherford, Okla., at nighttime because he wanted to get that Rock Star Status.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

 

 

Mustang seniors end careers the way they started

By Michael Kinney

OKLAHOMA CITY – Last season, Mustang thought the title was there. With a talented and experienced junior class, they were marching toward the 2016 state championship.

But along the way the Broncos ran into a scrappy Moore squad who knocked them out of the postseason.

Fast forward to Saturday evening and once again the Broncos found themselves on the verge of winning a 6A fast pitch state championship. And once again, it was the Lions who were standing in their way.

However, this time Mustang was not going to let anyone get in its way. They mowed over Moore 4-0 at the Softball Hall of Fame Stadium to win their second state championship in four years.

“Just for these seniors to go out with this championship, they started with it as freshmen, it just means so much,” Mustang coach Jamie Roberts said. “They really worked hard and put in so much time. It’s a very talented group. They lost out in the quarterfinals their sophomore year and semis last year. Just to be able to play Moore in the championship game, it’s just a really sweet victory.”

Kylie Dodson picked up her third win of the tournament. She allowed just three runs over that span.

Even though she didn’t have her best stuff against the Lions, she was able to grind out the shutout, while allowing a total of two hits.

“This is amazing,” Dodson said. “It’s such an honor. The key was our offense getting hits and making clutch plays when we needed them.”

Mustang’s Kaitlyn Thomas got the first hit of the game in the top of the second inning. The senior outfielder hit a towering double into centerfield. But Mustang was unable to knock her in.

Dodson gave up a double to start the second inning. She was then called for a balk, which advanced the Moore runner to third with no outs.

But once again, Dodson settled down and got three of the next four batters out. That included a diving catch from Thomas who sprinted in from left field to make the play.

“She is amazing,” Zoe Jones said of Dodson. “I just have so much trust in her. I think that she knows she can pitch her game because she has a strong defense behind her.”

Thomas continued to make an impact in the fourth with a double. Two plays later, Dodson laid down a sacrifice bunt that knocked in a runner. Mustang led 1-0.

Despite some control problems, Dodson didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and she was still able to keep the Lions from scoring.

Kenzie Donihoo and Audrie Morrison each reached base to start the fifth. Amelya Huggins put down a run scoring bunt to give Mustang a 2-0 advantage. Karis Clark added another RBI to push the Broncos in front 3-0.

In the seventh, the Broncos kept on rolling. Huggins laced a double into centerfield that scored a run. On her way around first base, she gave her coach an emphatic high-five. That was pretty much the end of the contest.

Dodson pitched the seventh and shutdown the Lions to end the game and the 2017 season the way they had planned.

“It’s amazing,” said Jones who is verbally committed to Texas Tech University. “We started high school with a state title and we ended it with a state title.”

This story appeared in the Mustang News

Michael Kinney is a Freelance content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com.

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