The 2018 spring baseball season has been a special one for the Tushka Tigers, and it's capped off with a trip to the state tournament. For the seniors, it's their sixth trip to Oklahoma city, but none might be more meaningful than this one.
"Hitting a curveball or catching a fly ball, it's important, but it doesn't mean everything," Tushka Baseball Coach Dax Simon said.
The Tushka Tigers have had a lot to play for this year, on and off the field.
"Morgan is our big reason to play right now," Tushka senior Koty Frank said. "You always have to keep her in mind. You could be practicing or running, and just think to yourself, it could always be worse, you know."
The team has been donning the color purple for most of the season, in support of two of the team's biggest supporters. Chloe Flynn, who continues to battle cystic fibrosis, and Morgan Flynn, who passed away in early April.
"Every time I come on this field, I think about her and her family," Milam said. "She is a part of my family, it hurts deep down."
"That's a hard one to take, she has been a part of our family for a long time, every time we play, we'll play for her," said senior Koty Frank. "She's been a big part of this team, both softball and baseball."
"She is the driving force right now, it's banded everything together and it's put everything into perspective," Simon said.
Times didn't get any easier just a few weeks ago when star shortstop Cole Broughton suffered an injury, which required season-ending surgery.
"He's been a great player, a mainstay for us since I've been here," Simon said. "We've been able to kind of absorb his loss and we'll continue to do so, but we miss him greatly being on the field."
"It would be a big deal for us," Frank said. "if we go on to win it all, we'll not only win it for her, but we'll do it for Cole and pick him up."
Through it all, the Tigers are three wins away from bringing home a state championship.
"It would probably be the most memorable one," Milam said. "Everything that has happened, all the heartbreak, then losing a player. It would sure mean a lot."
Tushka opens play against Oklahoma Christian Academy on Thursday at 1:30 pm.
The Tushka softball team will go for a slow-pitch state championship when the tournament takes place on Wednesday.