Barnsdall coach Joe Gilbert thought he'd grab a Pepsi or a root beer and drink it to celebrate.
For the first time in his 59 years as Panthers' softball head coach, Gilbert won a state title. Barnsdall defeated Soper, 17-11 on Tuesday.
“We've been runners-up a lot,” Gilbert said. “I thought the way this game started out tonight. I thought, ‘Oh my God. Here's that silver.'”
The Panthers were ranked No. 18 in Class 2A slowpitch going into the tournament, but Gilbert said he was proud of their attitude throughout the season and the playoffs.
On Tuesday night, underneath the lights at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium and with three innings in the record books, Gilbert's Panthers were down 10-4 to Soper.
Then in the top of the fourth, Barnsdall had nine straight singles, scored eight runs and never looked back. The Panthers scored five more in the final two innings.
“We finally got that gold,” he said.
As the softball team celebrated around Gilbert and fans in the stands wiped tears from their eyes, one of the players walked over to him, placed a gold medal around the coach's neck and said, “You're a state champion, Gilbert.”
RATTAN WINS THIRD STRAIGHT
The Rattan Rams cheered and dogpiled near second base, marking the team's third consecutive 3A title. Rattan beat Apache 11-6.
At the top of the seventh, it was tied 4-all.
Apache pitcher Kylie Zenobi needed one more out to get out of the inning, but Ashton Birchfield single and Brenna House singled. Rattan had an explosive seventh inning, including two in-the-park home runs by Kenya Griffith and Kaci Watts.
“That's my niece,” Rams coach Paul Watts said. “She always told me how she wanted to hit a home run. All I was thinking (when she was rounding the bases) was that she's going to get an inside-the-park home run on her final at-bat of the state tournament.
LEEDEY TRIMS RED OAK
Leedey coach Terry Maxwell won his third slowpitch title when the Bison beat Red Oak 8-6 in the Class A state finals.
Leedey spent the first two innings hitting the ball deep, but it started putting balls down in the infield. Three straight singles in the fourth inning and five straight in the fifth inning allowed the Bison to score three and four runs, respectively.
“They've been off to a slow start all season,” Maxwell said.
But he was pleased with his team's adjustments.
Leedey lost to Red Oak during the regular-season, 16-4.
“That's just slowpitch softball,” Maxwell said. “Sometimes you hit the run rule and sometimes you win.”