Little Axe pitcher Andee Frazier sprinted to home plate and hugged catcher Reagan McDoulett. She'd just thrown the strike that sealed a 1-0 win for the No. 1-ranked Indians against No. 5 Washington (24-15) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Frazier fanned 12 and allowed just one hit in seven innings Friday afternoon. She's struck out 23 batters in the state tournament.
“No words can express how I feel right now,” she said. “I'm so happy to finally be back in the finals. I'm overwhelmed.”
Frazier said she's dreamed of playing in a state championship game since she first picked up a softball. She'll receive her third opportunity when Little Axe plays for the Class 3A state title at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at ASA against Sequoyah-Tahlequah.
Little Axe (27-10) won the Class 4A state title in 2010 and the Class 3A state title in 2011. Frazier said the chance to win a third straight title is an opportunity she never thought she'd have.
“It's huge to us,” Frazier said. “It means a lot to me, a lot to our community, a lot to our team — it's a huge deal.”
Little Axe coach Mike Bread hugged each of his players after the game and gushed about his senior pitcher's performance.
“She just loves the limelight,” Bread said. “She loves the big game, and, when that time comes, she's going to be there no matter what it is.”
But Frazier's performance would have been for naught if not for designated player Cheyenne Brophy.
With two out and McDoulett on second, Brophy walked to the plate. Bread called timeout and beckoned his hitter to the third base coach's box.
“This is your time,” Bread told Brophy. “This is that time we were talking about where someone has to step up and get it done. Enjoy it, and have fun with it.”
Brophy smacked Orr's offering through the hole between the first and second basemen to drive in McDoulett.
“I really didn't think it was going to happen,” Brophy said of her game-winning hit.
Bread said he was excited for Brophy.
“Those are moments you live for as a coach,” he said.