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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Kingston, Plainview, Sulphur play for state spot

  • The Class 3A Sulphur regional begins Thursday with Sulphur playing Coalgate in the opening game at noon. Lake Country Conference teams Kingston and Plainview are also in the double-elimination regional.
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  • The Class 3A Sulphur regional begins Thursday with Sulphur playing Coalgate in the opening game at noon. Lake Country Conference teams Kingston and Plainview are also in the double-elimination regional.
    Sulphur (25-8)
    The Bulldogs enter as one of eight regional hosts from around the state in 3A. After falling a few wins short of a state tournament berth in 2011, Sulphur is considered the favorite to emerge from its regional this time.
    The youth of last year's team blossomed into an LCC champion this season. Sulphur will lose only two seniors from this year's squad, so the Bulldogs are still relatively young. Starting pitcher Sierra McCurry has been lights out and the Bulldogs got contributions from the bottom half of their lineup in district play. Darian Cravatt batted .667 from the No. 7 spot, which makes the Bulldogs even more dangerous headed into Thursday.
    Sulphur will open against Coalgate, who is coming off a three-game series victory against Holdenville.
    Players to watch — 2B Harlee Griffis (district series: 6 R, 5 BB); C Hali Gilbert (district series: .500 avg., 2 RBIs); P Sierra McCurry (24-7 record); 1B Allie Saunders (district series: 1.000 avg., 5 RBIs).
    In districts — Sulphur breezed through a two-game set with Tishomingo, 12-2 and 17-0. McCurry allowed just four hits and struck out nine in 10 innings, while eight of Sulphur's 22 hits went for extra bases.
    Quotable — "This is the second year in a row we have a great opportunity. We're hosting and we have three good teams coming. You have to have the mental toughness in every at-bat, every pitch. We have the talent, but you have to be mentally prepared."
    — Sulphur coach Heath Gilbert
    Plainview (19-13)
    It pays to have returning state tournament experience, something Plainview can claim over any of its regional foes.
    The Indians managed this season with a rebuilt core. After graduating an All-State outfielder and four-year starters in the circle and at shortstop, Plainview has received key contributions from junior center fielder Mykah Smith, sophomore shortstop Kaylee Roskam and freshman pitcher Tayte Sampson, particularly in its district series against Marietta.
    There's plenty of big-game experience on the Indians' side, as well. The Indians trot out slugging third baseman Tiphani Napier and leadoff hitter Taryn Callender, each four-year starters and two-time All-Ardmoreite Super Team selections.
    Players to watch — C Taryn Callender (district series: .375, 4 R); 3B Tiphani Napier (district series: .444, 2 HRs, 4 RBI, 3 R); 2B Kaylee Roskam (district series: .571, 3 2Bs, 7 R); CF Mykah Smith (district series: .778, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs
    In districts — Plainview swept Marietta in two games, with Smith closing the series with 10 of the Indians' 15 runs driven in and two home runs in the 15-4 series finale. Smith went 7-for-9 in two games.
    Quotable — "Mykah had a great week for us last week. She's been playing great and has been really hot. There wasn't a time last week that she didn't move them or score them for us." — Plainview coach Alicia Foster on Smith's regional.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kingston (21-12)
    Playing well at the right time, Kingston enters the regional tournament as arguably the hottest team in the area.
    The Redskins' confidence should be high after topping Davis in three games in their district series — by far the toughest district matchup of any of the area teams.
    The Redskins have a team loaded with five seniors — Mikayla Wells, Sabrina Slatton, Macey Bayles, Raylee Woodward and Jaci Beal — that have been key contributors since their freshmen year. Thus, Kingston enters as a team that's not only on a winning streak, but is filled with mature players peaking at the right time.
    "They have just matured, got better, worked on fundamentals, and worked on fundamentals in their head — knowing they can win," Kingston coach Mark Wells said. "Now, they have all the confidence that they can win."
    Wells pitched Kingston to a district title with two solid performances against a talented Davis lineup. Slatton, a 2011 All-Ardmoreite Super Team selection along with Wells, provides speed in center field and at the top of the order. Beal brings the biggest bat with a team-best .516 average and 28 RBIs.
    Kingston is 2-0 against Plainview and Sulphur this season.
    Players to watch — 2B Jaci Beal (district series: .571, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs, 4 R); CF Sabrina Slatton (district series: .367, 3 R); P Mikayla Wells (district series: 20 IP, 17 H, 8 K, 5 ER; .571, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs, 2 R).
    In districts — Kingston defeated Davis 3-2 in the third game of their district series, winning the series 2-1. The victory was the second consecutive district title for the Redskins, who won their first fastpitch district championship in 2011.
    Quotable — "I think it's gonna help us out psychologically to a certain extent, because we've had success against them (Plainview, Sulphur) this year. This regional, anybody can win it. It's who gets hot at the right time, who makes the plays and who does what it takes to win." — Kingston coach Mark Wells

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