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Newcastle claims 4A fast pitch softball title with shutout win against Purcell

Aubree Ferguson tosses four-hit shutout as Racer teammates provide early run support
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NORMAN, OKLAHOMA - Lilyana Portillo had no doubts. 

Before the fast pitch softball season even started, the junior catcher knew exactly where Newcastle was going to end their season.

So when Portillo and her Newcastle teammates stormed the pitcher’s mound Saturday after beating No. 5 Purcell, 4-0, to win the Class 4A state fast pitch championship, it had gone pretty much how she expected.

“I knew it. I came ready to play; I came ready to work,” Portillo said. “I knew I was going to do it for all of them.

"I saw them working as hard as I knew they could. I knew what they were capable of and I knew it at the end of the day.”

The Racers won the program’s third fast pitch title behind a dominant pitching performance from Aubree Ferguson and clutch hitting in the first two innings to earn the victory at the University of Oklahoma.

“It's just an incredible feeling,” Newcastle coach Mike Crossley said. “Great bunch of kids.

"We knew at the start of the season we had a chance to be something special and they've done what they wanted to do. Great job.”

The Racers struck first in the top of the first when Portillo laced a single off the Dragons' Ella Resendiz into center field to drive home a run.

However, Resendiz settled down and struck out the next three batters to end the threat.

Madelyn Torrenueva plated another run in the second inning to extend the Racers' lead to 2-0.

Lexie Lovelace added to the lead when she lifted a shot deep into the outfield that popped out of the center fielder’s glove as she attempted to make a running catch. This allowed Torrenueva to score.

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An error in right field gave Newcastle a 4-0 lead with two outs still on the board. After a meeting at the pitcher’s mound, Resendiz walked Meredith Strange to load the bases.

However, the junior hurler got the next batter to fly out and end the inning with the Dragons trailing, 4-0.

Still, that would be all Newcastle needed as Ferguson shut down any attempt Purcell made to get back in the game.

“She's just amazing,” Portillo said. “Words can't even explain how incredible she is. She's just the best I've ever had to deal with. I love her.”

Ferguson finished the game with a complete-game shutout. She allowed four hits and fanned two, closing out her fast pitch career with her biggest win.

Newcastle pitcher Aubree Ferguson 

Newcastle pitcher Aubree Ferguson 

“It's unbelievable. It was my last game to win it all in the last game of the season,” Ferguson said. “It was crazy. It's still crazy.”

In three games at the state tournament, Newcastle (34-4) outscored their opponents, 13-4. However, they allowed all four runs Friday in a 5-4 win over No. 2 North Rock Creek in the semifinals.

“We played tough games and tough competition and just nothing we hadn't seen before and played much better than we did (Friday)," Crossley said. “I didn't think we played very well (Friday).

"We did a good job (Saturday) and put a little pressure on them early. And that's big in a state championship game.”

-- Michael Kinney | @SBLiveOK