The LadyJays picked up its ninth shutout victory of the season Thursday night, as Guthrie dominated Western Heights 17-0 on senior night.
The LadyJays opened the bottom of the first, exploding for 11 runs on five hits. Guthrie added six runs in the bottom of the second, as Guthrie cruised to another easy victory, this one ending in 2.5 innings.
Drew Dodgion picked up her seventh win of the season inside the circle, throwing a no-hitter in three complete innings. She finished the game with seven strikeouts.
The Guthrie seniors accounted for 12 of the 17 runs, earning the LadyJays their 19th victory of the season. Perhaps the most impressive part of their 19 wins, is how fast they’ve got there. They picked up their 19th win in just 24 games. If the LadyJays were to win next Monday against Weatherford and make their way through the Guthrie regional and punch their ticket to state, they would pick up their 23rd win of the season. That total would eclipse the 21-win total from the 2015-16 team that broke a 17-year state tournament drought. This group of seniors were freshmen on that team.
“I think this group is already putting their legacy down,” Guthrie Head Coach Booker Blakley said. “They get to host a regional and that’s something we haven’t done here in a really long time. I think there is another step that we can take next week in regionals by getting to the state tournament. It wouldn’t be the first time this senior group has been to state, but it doesn’t happen too often around here. It’s something we hope is going to happen a lot more, but for them to be apart of not only one, but two state tournaments would be pretty big for them.”
In his first year as the head coach for the Guthrie softball team, Blakley admits he was a little nervous about how the team would receive him. He says this group of seniors made the transition for him effortless.
“You always kind of worry a little bit when you come somewhere that the seniors have dealt with other coaches their entire career and you’re coming in as the new person,” Blakley said. “They have been awesome. They have been accepting of me from day one and they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. They provide leadership; they are good examples to the younger girls on what to do; and they can play softball a little bit, too. They are a very talented group of girls.
“You get a little bit of everything from them, too. It’s in the circle, it’s behind the plate, in the field, it’s hitting--they give us a lot. They are definitely ones that we look at and rely on day in and day out to produce for us and they usually do.”
The LadyJays senior night was a little bit different than past years. 20 years to be exact. Thursday night will not be the last time this group gets to play on their home field. That will come next week when Guthrie hosts regionals for the first time since 1998. Not only will Guthrie be making history next week when they host the regional, but they’ll also get a chance at some revenge.
Santa Fe South, Del City and Ardmore are all in the Guthrie regional. If things shake out how they are supposed to, the LadyJays will have the opportunity to defeat Ardmore and end the Lady Tigers season in the regional championship.
Last season, Guthrie traveled to Ardmore and the Lady Tigers beat Guthrie 2-0 and 10-0 to end their season, while Ardmore celebrated on their field as they punched their ticket to state.
The LadyJays will likely have the opportunity to do the same thing to them next week.