LITTLE AXE — They are back.
The Indians are back.
At 3 p.m. today, Little Axe meets Chelsea at the Hall of Fame Stadium complex in Oklahoma City. At stake is a third-straight fastpitch state championship for the Class 3A school that maintains a Norman address, but is the hub of a community all its own.
That’s why the bleachers will be full of the Indian faithful today and, everybody hopes, Friday and Saturday.
Of course, Washington, Sulphur, Sequoyah-Tahlequah, Kellyville, Valiant and Perry will have something to say about it, too.
The Indians (25-10), though, are ranked No. 1 and carry the top seed … even if it looked like they were dead in the water just a few days ago.
Led by a group of three seniors — pitcher Andee Frazier, catcher Reagan McDoulett and shortstop Sammy Leisinger, all of which have collegiate softball in front of them — the Indians are nonetheless a young team that includes a pair of freshmen and a sophomore among its starting nine. And just as it was time to begin the march toward another postseason, the Indians started losing.
Little Axe was 16-2 after topping Class 4A No. 5 Newcastle 3-1 on Aug. 30.
Then came two losses in three games to begin the OU tournament. Then, after rebounding with three straight wins, the Indians really began to slide, losing five straight to McLoud, Westmoore, Putnam City North, Dale and Moore.
Next, finally, after rain made Little Axe’s diamond unplayable day-after-day as a regional host site, the regional was moved 100 miles away to Beggs on Monday. Once there the Indians crushed Okemah 14-0 but fell to Meeker 1-0, pushing their state tourney dreams all but over the edge.
“I think there was some doubt wondering how we were going to bounce back from that loss,” McDoulett said, “knowing that we were going to have to play that team twice.”