SHAWNEE — In order for an empire to be built, bricks must be laid to establish a strong foundation.

SHAWNEE — In order for an empire to be built, bricks must be laid to establish a strong foundation.

Monday afternoon, the No. 4 Sulphur Lady Bulldogs softball program put such a layer in place for their program.

For the first time in six attempts at the state tournament in fast and slow pitch, the Lady Bulldogs won a state quarterfinals game, before falling in the semifinals at the Class 5A State Slow Pitch tournament which was held at Firelake Casino in Shawnee. 

“We broke down the door today finally after six years,” Sulphur coach Heath Gilbert said. “Now we can’t be satisfied with this, we have to keep trucking. There’s a lot of expectations for us next season in fast and slow pitch. We have everyone back next season, and we don’t lose anyone.”

“A lot of these girls are already going to go back to work in travel ball tournaments,” Gilbert said. “This is the best team we’ve ever had. We had a heck of a turnout today from our community. Sulphur in my opinion is the best community in Oklahoma and our fans proved that today with all their support.”

First on the agenda at the state tournament was a measure of revenge in the state quarterfinals, as the Lady Bulldogs took down the No. 3 McLoud Lady Redskins 23-16, in a back-and-forth contest.

The victory avenged a 17-9 loss from April 22 the Lady Bulldogs suffered at McLoud.

McLoud opened the game with three runs in the first inning, before the Lady Bulldogs responded in the second. 

Shallen Mershon got Sulphur on the board with a trademark solo home run to center field, making it 3-1. 

Two batters later, Abby Beck let one fly to center as she launched a two-run home run to tie the game at 3-3.

Meredith Jones then put the Lady Bulldogs in front with a solo home run at 4-3. 

After keeping the Lady Redskins scoreless in the second, Sulphur went back to work in the bottom half of the inning.

Makenzie Ruth made it 5-3 with an RBI double, before Ally Dixon made it 6-3 with an RBI single to center, scoring Ruth. 

Jones then got her second home run of the game, this time a grand slam to center field to make it 10-3 after two complete. 

McLoud got a run back in the third, but the Lady Bulldogs had an answer in waiting.

Kinlee Duck got the bottom of the third started with a bang as she launched a solo home run to left field, before Mershon and Dixon got back-to-back RBI singles to make it 13-4 after three. 

However, the Lady Redskins responded with a huge inning of eight runs to make it 13-12 in the fourth.

Sulphur though once again had a response in the bottom half of the inning.

Hailey Keith made it 14-12 with a single to center, which resulted in an error allowing Jones to score.

Makella Mobly then got a fielder’s choice RBI to make it 15-12, before Ruth got a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 16-12.

Dixon then gave Sulphur some insurance with a two-RBI single to center off a line drive to make it 18-12. 

Jones had a strong end to the fourth as she scored two more runs with a bloop single that splashed down in right field in a puddle of water, putting Sulphur up 20-12. 

McLoud fought back with three runs in the fifth, but Sulphur closed the door. 

An RBI triple from Mobly followed by an RBI single from Ruth and an RBI double from Dixon made it 23-15.

The Lady Redskins got a home run in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough. 

Jones finished the game going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and seven total RBI, while Dixon finished 4-for-4 with three runs scored and five total RBI’s. 

Unfortunately, the Sulphur magic ran out in the state semifinals against No. 2 Kellyville, as the Lady Bulldogs were eliminated 21-7 in four innings. 

The Lady Ponies opened the game with six runs in the top of the first, before Sulphur came back with two runs thanks to RBI hits from Abby Beck and Meredith Jones to make it 6-2. 

Kellyville got a two-run home run in the second, before Sulphur got a solo home run from Hailey Keith to make it 8-2.

Five runs in the third for the Lady Ponies made the deficit bigger at 12-3, before Sulphur got a solo home run from Ally Dixon combined with RBI’s from Kinlee Duck and Keith to make it 12-6. 

But the backbreaker came in the fourth when Kellyville launched four home runs as part of an eight run inning to lead 21-6. 

Abby Beck got an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to make it 21-7, but the Lady Bulldogs wouldn’t get anymore offense, ending their season at 26-8 overall.