Stillwater News Press

Sports

August 8, 2012

Strong softball squads among area high schools

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Cushing Lady Tigers softball team may have graduated six from a team that went 31-12 and advanced to regionals, but coach Chad Short is looking at what he has this season as the Lady Tigers aim to advance further.

“We feel like our best opportunity is this year,” Short said. “We got a lot of younger kids that are going to come in and help. They just need a little bit of exposure and experience. They played all summer. I feel really good about where we are at and where we are headed.”

The Lady Tigers have a strong senior class with five players — led by pitcher Megan Carrier.

“She’s really solid,” Short said. “She is going to keep us in every game. She won 31 games last year.”

Short said he is excited about his starting lineup adding they provide a lot of experience.

“We got a senior catcher (Fabian Blankenship) coming up,” Short said. “She’s bought her time. Starting centerfielder Jessica Niccum, she’s real solid defensively.

“Offensively, our starting shortstop Tiah McNamara and Mikaela Weaver are going to fill a gap for us that we didn’t know if we would fill. Tristyn Short at second is going to be solid. Jordan Baugus at third is going to be solid. First baseman Lizzy Kennedy is a senior too. She brings a lot of leadership to our clan.”

The Lady Tigers advanced to regionals last season and were eliminated by then-No. 4 Purcell. Cushing opened the season with a 1-0 loss to Perry. Short thinks his team can make it back.

“We feel really good about our opportunity to make it there,” Short said. “We just got to be at a different level. We will have our chances. We should be a top 10 or 12 team starting the season.”

The Frontier Lady Mustangs also have high expectations for 2012 as it looks to return to the state tournament. Coach Erron Kauk is excited about his team’s depth.

“We got some good freshmen pitching that will help us,” Kauk said. “We have good team speed. By the time playoffs come we should compete.”

The Lady Mustangs are led by their pitcher and leading hitter Jalissa Gum. Kauk said it’s great to have an athlete like that.

“It makes our lives easier,” Kauk said. “With her bat she creates trouble for opponents. She’s a good baserunner and can lay down the bunt.

“If we get one to two runs with her pitching, we can beat anybody. She plays basketball, softball and runs track. Definitely an applicant for athlete of the year.”

Kauk said Gum has received several scholarship offers including Auburn, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Seminole State.

“She wants to go somewhere where she can pitch,” Kauk said. “We are going to put her out at shortstop some. The last two seasons she’s only been able to pitch.”

The Perry Lady Maroons are looking to build on last season’s run to regionals with most of their team back.

“We should be very competitive,” coach Bryan Hayes said. “We have good pitching and eight of nine starters returning.”

In the circle, Perry will rely on highly-touted senior Jade Hanson, who has received several scholarship offers.

“She’s a power pitcher,” Hayes said. “We’ve put a (radar) gun on her and she throws as fast as 65. That’s pretty hard and about as fast as (NCAA) Division I pitchers are throwing.”

The Lady Maroons reached regionals for the seventh consecutive season losing to Kellyville, who was ranked ninth. Hayes said his team hopes to get past regionals this season, adding hitting will be key.

“We are trying to get over the hump,” Hayes said. “For whatever reason we choose to have worst game hitting in the regional finals. The key for us is having our good players play well.”

The Coyle Bluejackets will be under new leadership as Cailyn Coxsey takes over. This is Coxsey’s first coaching job as she replaces Hayley Bryant.

“I’m pretty excited,” Coxsey said. “I’m ready to see where I can take the program.”

The Lady Bluejackets return an experienced team as they only graduated three from last season. Coxsey said she expects those players to be leaders this year.

“They can keep the girls encouraged and keep their heads up during tough times,” Coxsey said. “It’s a big advantage because and hopefully it will make the team better.”

Coxsey said she will help the team with the basics and improve.

“We’re not expecting to compete for state,” Coxsey said. “I’m wanting to show them the basics of the game and build up from there.”

The Agra Lady Bearcats will look to continue improving under head coach Jon Peveler.

“We’ve improved the last four seasons,” Peveler said. “We are still building.”

Agra will have to find players to fill the void offensively as its top three hitters graduated. Peveler said he’s excited about his starting infield.

“They have all played in the infield,” Peveler said. “We got a lot of interchangeable parts.”

Peveler said he hopes his team continues to progress.

“Hopefully, we are looking for bigger things,” Peveler said.

The Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons look to improve on a 10-27 campaign.

“I got two seniors and a handful of juniors,” coach Carla Hart said.

The Lady Demons will lean on junior pitcher Mykelti Shelton in the circle. Hart said she’s expecting good things from her.

“She started in the middle of the year last year and led us to two key victories,” Hart said. “She has a repertoire of off speed pitches and spots the fastball well.”

Starting second baseman Kristen Chattel and starting third baseman Lacey Shipp are the only seniors.

The Lady Demons have played two games and lost 11-1 to Harrah and 3-2 to Kellyville.

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