COUNTDOWN FOR 2021 TOP LOCAL SPORTS STORIES: Dewey softball climbs higher up the mountain

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A scene last October from a Dewey softball team practice.
A scene last October from a Dewey softball team practice.

Following is the latest addition to the E-E’s countdown for the Top 15 local sports stories of 2021.

No. 4 — Dewey softball: In the shadow of the mountain peak

During an 11-year stretch in the 1980s and 1990s (1984-94), Dewey High won the state softball championship seven times.

That’s only part of the story. Through the late 1990s, Dewey’s appearance in the state tournament was as seasonal as falling leaves and golden early-evening sunsets.

But, Dewey’s status as a premier state power faded in the early 2000s.

In 2002, the Lady Doggers clawed back into the state tourney.

But, that was the final hurrah of the shining era.

Dewey’s diamond fortunes the next decade-and-a-half followed a yo-yo pattern — some good years, some very good years, some average years and some bad years.

But, with the arrival in 2017 of Niki Keck as head coach, Dewey was about to connect with its roots.

In 2018, the Lady Doggers (17-10) missed out by only one game of going to the playoffs.

In 2019, Dewey (20-16) muscled into the state quarterfinals — the furthest Dewey had advanced in the postseason since 2002.

In 2020, Dewey (28-4) bolted back to state and dropped a heartbreaking 7-5 decision in the quarterfinals.

And, then there was 2021.

Dewey burst to a 30-win season (31-5), the most wins in a campaign since at least the 1990s — if ever.

Dewey rolled through the 2021 regionals without giving up run — outscoring its opponents, 12-0.

That brought them back to the quarterfinals for a third-straight season. This time, Dewey didn’t flinch. The Lady Doggers knocked off Perry, 4-2, to advance to the state semifinals for the first time in about 25 years.

But, North Rock Creek denied Dewey a chance to get to the 2021 state final, 6-2.

Even so, Dewey’s third-straight appearance in state and moving to within one win of the state final created one of the top local sports stories of 2021.

The core group around which Keck built Dewey[s powerhouse fortunes were six seniors from the Class of 2022 — Gabby Higbee, Briley Davis, Savanna Moll, Makenna Smith, Rian Davis and Kaleena Downing.

As a side story, Dewey also made history by plowing unbeaten (12-0) through regular season district play.

Following are Dewey softball numbers:

2019 playoffs

Regional: Dewey 10, Valliant 6

Regional: Dewey 13, Henryetta 9

Regional: Dewey 10, Valliant 3

State quarterfinal: Tahlequah-Sequoyah 7, Dewey 1

2020 playoffs

Regional: Dewey 5, Antlers 0

Regional: Dewey 10, Beggs 0

Regional: Dewey 7, Beggs 2

State quarterfinal: Pocola 7, Dewey 5

2021 playoffs

Regional: Dewey 6, Holdenville 0

Regional: Dewey 1, Tahlequah-Sequoyah 0

Regional: Dewey 5, Tahlequah-Sequoyah 0

State quarterfinal: Dewey 4, Perry 2

State semifinal: North Rock Creek 6, Dewey 2

2021 district games

W: Dewey 13, Adair 3 (Davis)

W: Dewey 9, Adair 3 (Davis)

W: Dewey 11, Lincoln Christian 1 (Davis)

W: Dewey 14, Lincoln Christian 1 (White)

W: Dewey 16, Salina 0 (Davis)

W: Dewey 12, Salina 0 (White)

W: Dewey 12, Holland Hall 0 (Davis)

W: Dewey 13, Holland Hall 0 (Davis)

W: Dewey 12, Claremore-Sequoyah 2 (Davis)

W: Dewey 16, Claremore-Sequoyah 0 (Davis)

W: Dewey 13, Kiefer 6 (Davis)

W: Dewey 8, Kiefer 7 (Davis)

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Following is the E-E countdown of top 2021 stories

No. 15 — Bartlesville soccer: Lady Bruin soccer goes to playoffs

No. 14 — Bartlesville swimming: Perfect start for Bartlesville girls swimming

No. 13 — Pawhuska football: Huskies back in the deep hunt

No. 12 — Bartlesville baseball: Happy days again at Doenges

No. 11 — Bartlesville, Dewey and Oklahoma Union: Volleyball teams rise to new heights

No. 10 — Coaching changes: Programs shift to new leadership

No. 9 — Bartlesville track: Turner soars through sky

No. 8 — Wesleyan Christian running: Lady Mustang lengthens stride; sophomore teammate follows in her footprints

No. 7 — Bartlesville football: A touchdown to remember

No. 6 — Oklahoma Wesleyan baseball: Eagles swoop into spring classic

No. 5 — Oklahoma Wesleyan basketball: Perfect for Christmas

No. 4 — Dewey softball: In the shadow of the mountain peak

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: STORIES: A look at Dewey softball

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