The Bluestem softball team continued it’s run of state tournament appearances with a fifth straight regional championship on Tuesday. The Lions defeated Flinthills 15-4 at Udall High School to qualify for their fifth straight state tournament appearance.

According to Bluestem head coach Michelle Womacks, this year’s regional championship may have been the hardest.

“This group battled through injuries and illness the last two days,” Womacks said.

“I was very proud of how hard they played for each other no matter what they were dealing with personally. It’s been a hard two days, but they got it done in the end.”

In the first round, the Lions defeated West Elk 21-6 to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Bluestem faced the No. 3 seed Udall. Both teams battled through a low-scoring game and the Lions were eventually able to pull out a 2-1 victory.

Freshman pitcher Delaney Blakesley earned three wins in three regional games for the Lions.

“This kid really battled through for us. She was hot and worn out, but never quit, never gave up for her team,” Womacks added.

In the championship game, Blakesley threw six strikeouts as the Lions earned a run-rule victory after five innings. Natalie Bevan led the Lions’ at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.

Bluestem is now 15-4 and will compete at the 2-1A state tournament at Green Sports Complex in Pratt beginning on Thursday, May 23.