David W. Healy
Led by Coach Rob Ballinger, the Deer Creek softball team had an impressive run at the North 1A Fast Pitch Tournament at North Sunflower Academy. The Warriors finished runners up at the tournament, winning four games and losing twice to the back-to-back state champions Briarfield Academy. In the championship game, Briarfield beat Deer Creek 8-7.
The Lady Warriors are now heading to the overall Class 1A state tournament at the Magee Sportsplex. Their first game will be Saturday at 11 a.m. against Tallulah Academy.
Josie Azlin and Kenzlee Wooley were the pitchers for the Lady Warriors at North State. Azlin had wins over Calhoun Academy and Desoto.
“Josie also pitched an excellent game against Briarfield Academy with us coming up just short by a score of 8-7,” Coach Ballinger said. “ Kenzlee stepped in and did a great job for us pitching game one against Briarfield, pitching 5 innings against SIA and only giving up 1 run and then gave a huge effort in a win over Calhoun Academy in the last game of the day Saturday.”
At the plate, many Lady Warriors also shined. Azlin finished the tournament with a .521 average, including four walks, 12 hits, five doubles one triple and 10 RBI.
Deer Creek’s Karson Sides finished the tourney with a .440 batting average, with two walks 11 hits and four RBI.
Deer Creek’s Kenzlee Wooley averaged .428 at the plate with two walks, nine hits, three doubles and five RBI.
“They hit the ball really well through most of the tournament and we had a couple girls really step up to help the meat of our order put some runs across the plate,” Coach Ballinger said. “We have some defensive issue we need to clean up, but overall I was so proud of the effort these girls gave this entire tournament. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the state tournament this weekend and keep finding a way to win
Lady Warrior Hailey Gilbert had averaged .380 with two walks, eight hits, three doubles and three RBI.
“I was extremely proud of the girls during this tournament,” Coach Ballinger said. “They were down in several games and never gave up – they kept their heads up and kept plugging away and really for the first time this season they went out and found a way to win some really close and competitive games.”