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May 1, 2013

Jaguars, SaberCats, Lions take on East in state slow pitch tourney

NORMAN — For three straight years, the title had made its home on the east side of the state. Muskogee, Tulsa Union and Jenks each laid claim to the Class 6A slowpitch championship, shutting out all teams from the West

That came to an end last season when Westmoore won rose up to end the east dominance by drubbing Union 18-7. In the process, the Jaguars may have also helped the city of Moore reclaim its spot as the softball capital of Oklahoma.

“The last few years, the east side has won three of four state championships, but overall, everyone knows that when it comes to a state championship, the teams out of the Moore Public Schools are going to have a say on who wins that championship,” Southmoore coach Jason Lingo said. “I think that is something to be proud of and says a lot for our district as a whole.”

No. 1 Westmoore is back at the state tournament to defend its title, which starts at 10 a.m. today at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. But it’s not alone. No. 3 Moore and No. 10 Southmoore are crashing the party with the Jags for the third consecutive year. Of the eight teams competing today, five are from the east. The rest are from Moore.

“It says Moore softball is in a good place,” Westmoore coach Steve Schwarz said. “We have good athletes and coaches in the area.”

The Jaguars (10) and Lions (9) have accounted for 19 slowpitch championships. In fact, they are the only schools from the west side of the state to have ever won a 6A-5A title since the tournament began in 1983.

Even though the SaberCats have yet to win one, they did play in the championship game in 2011 in only their third year of existence.

“Softball in Moore is obviously the bigger sport for girls,” Lingo said. “They take it seriously from 7 years old all the way through high school. It says a lot about our kids that they like the game so much they are willing to play fastpitch, slowpitch, summer ball, whatever. Every time they get on a diamond, most of our kids want to go. Doesn’t matter.”

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