Claremore softball seniors Hannah Hutchinson, Emylee Austin, Alyssa Poorboy, Hailey Barnes, Kayley McMillan and Terran Schornick celebrate winning the Class 5A Regional 6 championship last week. They hope to extend their season today at the state tournament.

This iteration of Claremore softball steps into new territory when it plays in the Class 5A state tournament at 4 p.m. today.

Its opponent, however, is anything but unfamiliar.

This will be the Lady Zebras' second matchup of the year with Tahlequah and fourth of the past two seasons. They are 1-3 against the the Lady Tigers during that stretch, falling to them in the regional finals just last year.

This group of seniors -- Alyssa Poorboy, Terran Schornick, Hailey Barnes, Emylee Austin, Hannah Hutchinson and Kayley McMillan -- are 1-5 against Tahlequah. The only win came in a 1-0 decision in 2018.

This year, Tahlequah defeated Claremore 4-2 on Aug. 14 at the Broken Arrow Tournament. That was the first week of the season, though, and both teams have grown since then.

"Playing them so early in the season, I wouldn't say we're familiar with them," Claremore coach Keeli Garroutte said. "I'm confident if we play our best, we'll compete with anyone."

They have identical district records of 10-2, but the Lady Zebras have the best overall mark of 22-13. Tahlequah comes in at 20-15.

The Lady Tigers defeated Pryor in Regional 8 to earn their fourth-consecutive state tournament berth. Despite that success, Tahlequah was bounced in the first round of each appearance.

Meanwhile, Claremore advanced to its first state tournament since 2013 after taking down a pesky Glenpool club at home in Regional 6.

The Lady Zebras have shown they are a threat to any team in Class 5A, and Garroutte is confident they have the ability to continue pushing the boundaries of greatness.

"I think if we play up to our ability and control the aspects of the game that are within us, we'll have success," Garroutte said.

Class 5A State Tournament

Thursday's games

Field 3 

Coweta vs. Del City, 11 a.m.

Durant vs. Lawton Eisenhower, 1:30 p.m. 

Claremore vs. Tahlequah, 4 p.m.

Carl Albert vs. Guymon, 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s games

Field 3 

Coweta-Del City winner vs. Durant-Lawton Eisenhower winner, 11 a.m.

Claremore-Tahlequah winner vs. Carl Albert-Guymon winner, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Field 1

Championship, 2:30 p.m.

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