Oologah didn't panic when Tuttle's offense was gaining momentum, outhitting the Mustangs early. They didn't panic when the Tigers drew within one late in the top of the sixth inning and appeared to have all the momentum. That's because they've been there before and gained the 'it' factor.
And it was on full display Friday in Oologah's gutsy 2-1 win over Tuttle in the Class 4A state softball semifinals at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Oologah has been to the state tournament three years in a row, but this is the first time the Mustangs have advanced to the final.
“We really think that we have it this year,” Oologah pitcher Hunter Jeffs said. “We're all believing, our hearts are in it to win it. So, we're really excited about this year. We hope to win it all.”
The tournament experience gained and the losses suffered the past few seasons serve as a driving force for the Mustangs.
“We got beat out first round two years ago, went to state semis last year and all year we've just been preaching to the kids, ‘Just believe,' ” said coach Andrea Vaughan. “They're just kind of on a mission this year.”
A mission led by veteran pitcher Jeffs, who struck out six Tuttle batters in the semifinal win.
“Hunter is just dominant on the mound,” Vaughan said. “She's been dominant for us all year, and she's a junior, she's been here.
“She's experienced in those pressure situations and she's got that go-to strikeout pitch that always gets us out of tough innings."