Aaliyah Ahmed is one of several Owasso softball seniors who will get one last shot at a state championship this week.
The Rams catcher and her teammates swept through regionals last week and punched their ticket to the Class 6A tournament, which begins Thursday at the Ballfields at Firelake in Shawnee.
Owasso (24-13) will make its fourth consecutive trip to state, but Ahmed is hopeful this is the time the Rams put a halt to five straight first-round losses.
“We want it so bad … so bad,” Ahmed said. “This year we’ve struggled quite a bit, but we’ve been coming back. I just have a good feeling about this year.”
Owasso will face Westmoore (30-8) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round for the second season in a row. Last year, Owasso grabbed an early three-run lead but eventually lost 5-3.
The Rams defeated the Jaguars 6-3 on Aug. 24 during their trip to Moore.
Should the Rams win, they would face either top-seeded Broken Arrow (37-2) or Union (24-13) at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Other first-round pairings are Sand Springs (23-12) against Moore (25-10) and Edmond Memorial against Edmond Deer Creek (26-9). The championship game is 5 p.m. Saturday.
Ahmed is one of 13 seniors on the roster, several of whom already have state experience under their belt. Shortstop Paige Knight will be making her fourth trip.
“It does take a lot of the nerves away,” Knight said of having already played in the state tournament.
Knight, who moved up to the leadoff spot during regionals, led a balanced offensive lineup with a .484 batting average coming into the postseason.
In 5A, Collinsville (25-7) will take on District 5A-3 foe Pryor (25-10) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round for the second consecutive year.
Last year, OU-bound Olivia Rains led Pryor to a 5-0 win with a 14-strikeout performance. Collinsville and Pryor split the two regular-season meetings this season with both teams winning at home.
Should Collinsville win, it would face either No. 1 Carl Albert (27-5) or El Reno (22-12) at 11 a.m. Friday in a semifinals. The remaining first-round matchups are Tahlequah (22-17) against Durant (24-13) and Woodward (26-7) against Piedmont (23-7). The state title game is 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
With all but one starter back from last year’s state tournament team, senior pitching ace Elizabeth Aman said Collinsville is better positioned to bring a title back this time around.
“I feel like this year we know going in we can win it,” said Aman, who opposed Rains in last year’s state tournament game. “Last year it felt like we were just trying not to lose.”
The 4A tournament will open with Skiatook meeting Purcell at 11 a.m., followed by Hilldale against Tecumseh at 1:30 p.m., Newcastle facing Muldrow at 4 p.m. and Oologah against Lone Grove at 6:30 p.m. The final is noon Saturday.