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Jenks rolls into 6A fast pitch softball state tournament with decisive win for regional championship

Trojans defeat Ponca City, 9-0, to qualify for second trip to state since 2013

By Christian Potts 

JENKS - Kayla Adams started and ended the day by making an impact.

And she and her Jenks Lady Trojan teammates are now headed to the Class 6A state fast pitch softball tournament after dispatching Ponca City, 9-0, in the regional championship game Thursday, continuing what's been one of the best seasons in school history.

"The whole year has just been unbelievable," said Jenks coach Todd Williams. "We started the first day, we were 1-2 that first day, we made some small adjustments, and we ran off 18 in a row at one point, and our confidence has just been sky-high.

"It's been great defense and great pitching and consistency."

Jenks, now 33-6 on the season, had a perfect 14-0 run through District 6A-3 play. Its win total is the second best in school history, behind a 36-win effort during a state tournament run in 2011.

This is Jenks' sixth trip to the state tournament, but just their second since 2013.

They have a versatile superstar in Adams, an Arkansas-Pine Bluff commit, leading the charge alongside a talented cast of seniors.

Starting in center field for Jenks on Thursday, Adams made a diving catch to rob the game's first batter, Savannah Clark, of a hit. Then she came to the circle to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing no hits and striking out six.

"To be back here in this position, and especially to be here with these girls, it's great," Adams said. "We have each other's back.

"It starts with mindset, being positive with others, pushing them, knowing that you have their back, that's what sets the tone in being a senior, picking everyone up and being there for each other."

Starting pitcher Cali Worsham gives Jenks quite a 1-2 punch in the circle alongside Adams.

Worsham, a junior right-hander, improved her record to 15-1 on the season, including wins in both regional games against Ponca City. She allowed three hits in 4 1/3 shutout innings before Adams finished up the game.

"We just give help to each other; when we know we're messing up with our pitches, whether it's with a curveball or a changeup, let each other know where we're slacking," Adams said. "Again, it's just about having each other's back."

To complement that consistent pitching, the Lady Trojans found plenty of offense throughout the lineup against the Lady Cats.

Right fielder Avery Brewer was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Adams was 3-for-4, sophomore catcher Paiton Hedges was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Bella Rodman and Jena Hendrix each had multi-hit games.

Despite seeing its season end with a 27-14 record, Ponca City is a young team with a bright future.

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The Lady Cats have only one senior in Clark, who pitched the final 4 2/3 innings in relief of sophomore left-hander Bri Meyer. Multiple freshmen and sophomores are a big part of a squad that showed great improvement from its 2021 campaign for coach Jeneva Nelson.

But it's Jenks that heads on to Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City next week to chase the first fast pitch softball state championship in school history.

"We need to continue to pitch it well and play great defense," Williams said. "And we have swung it real well here in the regional, and we need to continue that."

6A State Bracket Update

Three more teams advance to complete the 6A bracket.

It was anything but easy, but defending Class 6A champion Southmoore will have a chance to defend its title.

A day after losing 2-1 in the second round to Edmond Deer Creek, the Lady SaberCats needed three consecutive wins on Thursday to reach the state tournament. And they did it, taking down Norman 10-5 before back-to-back victories against the Lady Antlers, 9-5 and 8-2.

Owasso, the three-time defending state runner-up in 6A, had to go on the road in the regional round but made it a successful trip, taking down host Stillwater, 13-3, to gain entry back to the state tournament.

Choctaw also punched its ticket, with the District 6A-4 champion taking down Norman North, 7-6, on Thursday to clinch a perfect run through its regional.

Thursday's four winners join Moore, Edmond Memorial, Mustang and Broken Arrow, who each advanced with regional championships on Wednesday.

5A, 4A State Qualifiers

In Class 5A, all eight regional hosts were also regional winners: Defending state champion Piedmont, Midwest City Carl Albert, Duncan, Guthrie, Coweta, Pryor, Durant and Tahlequah.

In Class 4A, Hilldale, Skiatook, Miami and Tecumseh claimed regional championships on Thursday, while multiple regional tournaments will continue on Friday.

The state tournaments for Classes 4A-6A take place Oct. 13-15 at Oklahoma City's Hall of Fame Stadium complex.

Small schools get started at state

Three defending state champions all advanced to the semifinals as Classes 3A, 2A, A and B began their state tournaments with quarterfinal action Thursday in Oklahoma City.

In Class 3A, defending champion Washington will face Lindsay in Friday's semifinals after a 6-0 win against Morris.

In Class 2A, Silo continues its title defense against Morrison after knocking off Howe, 7-3. But two powerhouses - top-ranked Pocola and Dale - are looming on the other side of the bracket.

Class A's defending champion Caddo rolled past Canute, 13-2, and will face Sterling in the semifinals. Cyril and Ripley face off in the other semifinal game.

Class B's semifinal matchups pit Moss against Whitesboro and Stuart against Buffalo Valley. Defending champion Roff did not qualify for the state tournament.