Ms. Stixx softball wins big in OKC; Local 12-and-under squad puts God, family first while having very successful summer
Ms. Stixx line up before the title game in Oklahoma City Monday, leaving the No. 6 spot open for right fielder Jazzy Lucero, who was injured during the Summer Blast tourney in Roswell on May 12. (Submitted Photo)
Above: Ms. Stixx players and coaches always pray together before every game. (Submitted Photo)
Below: Ms. Stixx show off their championship rings after winning the Knocking Breast Cancer out of the Park Tournament in Roswell on Sept. 30, 2016. (Submitted Photo)
The summer is heating up, and right now, no local team is hotter than local 12-and-under softball squad, Ms. Stixx.
Their most recent triumph was winning the 12-and-under C Bracket at the OKC Challenge in Oklahoma City Monday, a United States Specialty Sports Assocation-sanctioned tournament featuring elite teams from across the nation.
Ms. Stixx struggled in pool play, dropping both games last Saturday and Sunday, but found their focus once bracket play began.
“I think they were still on vacation for those first couple games,” joked head coach Savino Sanchez. “We got into bracket play on Monday and won four-straight. The last two games went into extra innings, and we came out on top.”
Ms. Stixx took out G1 Impact of Benton, Louisiana in the 2 p.m. game, then kept the momentum with a 6-0 shutout of Farmington’s Tuff Stuff, which had a first-round bye.
In the semifinals, the Stixx got the offense they needed in extras to pull off a 7-6 victory over the Crush of Parker, Colorado, which set up the championship contest against the Swat Rebels of Bethany, Oklahoma.
The Swat Rebels, playing just a few short miles from home, also took Ms. Stixx to extra innings, but the Roswell squad again got what they needed to get the 5-4 win and the title of 2017 OKC Challenge Champions.
The team’s season was quite successful before the Oklahoma tourney, but the girls also had some extra motivation after a teammate suffered a serious leg injury during the Summer Blast tournament in Roswell back on Mother’s Day weekend.
“In the last play of a game, the other team hit a ball to the right-center gap,” Sanchez said. “Our center fielder and our right fielder, Jazzy Lucero, were both running for the ball. I guess Jazzy planted her leg, trying not to run into her teammate, and they collided.”
Ms. Stixx went on to win the Summer Blast, and made sure to leave the No. 6 spot open for Lucero when the team lined up before the title game, as they did before games in Oklahoma City. Lucero’s mother, Ashley Lucero, said the gesture brought her to tears.
“They’ve been amazing friends to my daughter,” Ashley Lucero said. “They’ve really fought for her during these last two tournaments they’ve won. When the injury happened, they all came together and prayed for her on the field. This team is a family.”
And for Sanchez, faith and family means infinitely more than wins or losses.
“I’m big on the team side of things, or the family aspect, and it shows in the girls,” he said. “A lot of them have grown up together, on the field and some at school. The girls are close, the parents are close. It’s our little softball family. We pray together before every game.”
Ashley Lucero said she and the other parents are very thankful to have coaches like Sanchez and assistant coach Joe Samario guiding their girls.
“My daughter started playing with them when she was eight, and she’s 12 now, so she’s been with the team for a good while,” she said. “It’s their last year together and I really want to thank the coaches for all they do. They are amazing men.”
Sanchez said he hopes he and Samario have taught the girls more than just how to play softball.
“There’s a lot more to life than softball,” he said. “But there are lots of other things they can learn from the game, and hopefully learn from us, that they can use in life. The main thing to me, is honoring God with your life.”