In the third year of a “Haskell County” softball team, a state berth is in the crosshairs.
Sublette and Satanta joined a co-op to play softball at the Class 3A level in 2017, and went 9-11 that year, losing in the first round of the regional tournament. A year ago, Haskell County — which does not use a mascot name — went 11-12 last year, losing in the semifinals of the regional tournament.
This year — split nearly in half with eight players from Satanta and seven from Sublette on the roster — Haskell (13-5) enters the regional tournament as the No. 2 seed, and head coach Jessica Ball is confident in her squad.
“I am super, super optimistic,” Ball said Friday. “I think we’ll win the whole thing. We’re really set up to win, especially with all three of my pitchers pitching well.”
The team opens the Lakin regional at 6 p.m. Monday, when it will take on Holcomb (8-12). Win that, and it advances to Tuesday’s semifinals against the winner of Cimarron and Goodland game, before potentially taking on top-seed Colby (14-4) in the final Tuesday evening.
That’s the road to state for Haskell County, which is led by a couple of seniors in Mercedes Martinez and Tanna Anderson. Martinez plays first base, and is hitting .525 with 33 RBIs, while Anderson patrols center field and is hitting .620 with 39 RBIs.
Both only have one error this year, which is particularly helpful for sophomore starting pitcher Maddison Jaso.
Jaso took over the role when senior Liz Olivas missed the first few games of the season with an injury, and has thrived. She’s 7-2 with one save, a 4.2 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Haskell started the season 2-2, but then proceeded to win 11 of its next 12 games — with slip-up vs. Lakin — before ending the season getting swept by always lethal Spearville. The team’s scheduled season-ending doubleheader vs. Cimarron was cancelled due to weather.
Without that cancellation, Ball said she was confident her team would have been 15-5 entering next week’s regional, which would have meant the top-seed.
Instead, the team will just have to prove it deserved it if and when it meets up with Colby in the 6 p.m. Tuesday final, with a state berth on the line.