Two local softball teams, the Wilson Lady Eagles and the Turner Lady Falcons, are three wins and two days away from capturing a state title.


Two local softball teams, the Wilson Lady Eagles and the Turner Lady Falcons, are three wins and two days away from capturing a state title.

The Lady Eagles (27-3), ranked first in the Class 3A Coaches Association Poll, will meet No. 7 Preston at 1:15 this afternoon on Field No. 3 at Oklahoma City's Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in the quarterfinals.

The rest of the field has No. 2 Morrison meeting No. 6 Merritt, No. 5 Dewar facing No. 12 Hydro-Eakly and No. 4 Rattan playing No. 8 Barnsdall.

"This state tournament is pretty even," Wilson coach Scott Hartman said. "Most of the teams up there have either beaten each other, or been beaten. It's going to be a good opportunity for our kids to show up and play. Getting to play at Hall of Fame Stadium is pretty special. It's a good place to go play. The kids are excited. It doesn't matter who we play. It's just going to come down to us playing if we're going to have a chance to win. This has been the big thing around school. It's not just the players. It's everybody. Fans are looking forward to driving up and watching them play. Our kids are excited about that."

The Wilson-Preston winner will meet the Rattan-Barnsdall winner at 6:45 tonight in the state semifinals, with the winner playing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for the state title.

"If we make it to that game Thursday night, we'll get to scout the opponent a couple of times before then," Scott Hartman said. "It would be great of we make it, but right now our main concern is on Preston. Then, we'll take it from there. If we can go play ball like we're capable of playing, and get a little luck, things can turn out good."

The Lady Eagles program is one of richest slow-pitch programs in the state, as the Lady Eagles had a stretch of 12 straight years in which Wilson made state.

"Our girls have been there before," Scott Hartman said. "They know what's expected up there. Anytime you make it this far, it's a big reward for working hard all year. They also need to realize how hard it is to get to the state tournament. Hopefully, if we take care of business, things will turn out good for us."

In Class A, the Lady Falcons (25-9), ranked eighth, will meet N. 4 Tupelo at 2:30 this afternoon on Field No. 2 at Hall of Fame Stadium.

"I've seen them play Wilson twice and Colbert, so we're familiar with them," Turner coach Kelly Hartman said. "I think we can outhit them, but they have a lot of team speed. They put the ball in play, and are real aggressive on the basepaths. We're really going to have to bring our 'A' game to come out on top, but I think we can come out on top. Hopefully, we can carry over from what we did at the regional and come out, be aggressive early and (have pitcher Jessica Smith) throw strikes. With our senior on the mound, I'm hoping that will be better than Tupelo's freshman pitcher. I'm hoping that helps us out some. I've got eight kids who started last year, and we're pretty much a veteran team for the state tournament. They're not intimidated and not over-anxious. They're just ready for the game. We had a real good practice (Tuesday), and it's in their mind about getting beat last year and coming out and try to get a win in the state tournament. We're hoping that our bats will be there again, and, hopefully, we can outslug whoever we play."

On the same side of the bracket is No. 1 Red Oak and unranked Lookeba-Sickles, which suffered a loss to Turner in last week's Class A regional tournament in Temple. The Turner-Tupelo winner will meet the Red Oak/Lookeba-Sickles winner at 6:45 tonight in the state semifinals.

"I hope Lookeba-Sickles can beat them," Kelly Hartman said. "Red Oak is predominantly one of the best teams year-in, year-out in this class. They're loaded with a lot of really talented kids. They don't lose that often, and they've beaten a lot of people. From what I've heard from other coaches is that everyone is playing for second place behind Red Oak. If we make it through the first game, we're really going to have to put our best effort on the field. Anybody can get beat in one game, so we're hoping that it's our day to win."

On the other side of the bracket is No. 2 Leedey, No. 10 Webbers Falls, No. 2 Moss and No. 7 Arapaho. The state title game is set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

"Moss and Leedey are really heads and tails better," Kelly Hartman said. "Moss has been beat by Leedey. Leedey is ranked second for a reason. I would love to get to the finals to see if we can beat them."

David Seeley, 221-6527

david.seeley@ardmoreite.com