Stillwater News Press

Sports

August 8, 2012

Stillwater Lady Pioneers softball hopes hard work in summer pays off

STILLWATER, Okla. — Before the summer began Stillwater High softball coach Amber Davis knew what was in store for her. With a majority of last year’s team graduating — including some at key positions like pitcher and shortstop — Davis knew she had her work cut out for her.

As the Lady Pioneers open the season against Putnam City West Thursday at Little Couch Park, Davis hopes all that hard work has paid off.

“The girls are ready,” Davis said. “They’ve put in a lot of work this summer and over the past two weeks. They’re ready to actually go and compete with somebody.”

The team may be mentally ready, but there are some lingering questions following last week’s scrimmages. Davis said the team still had a few kinks to work out, but she feels like they fixed those with the practices earlier this week.

“As of (Tuesday) we have worked out those kinks,” Davis said. “I’ll be able to tell you a different story maybe Thursday night. We had a good practice (Tuesday) and after another good practice on Wednesday we should be able to take it to them on Thursday.”

But one big question still remains. Who will get the start in the circle now that pitchers Jodi Vinyard and Chandler Nett are gone?

“We still really haven’t settled on a pitcher yet,” Davis said. “Brittany Lockett will probably have the ball on Thursday. That’s just one of those things we’re still trying to figure out.”

No matter who takes the circle for Stillwater this season, they will be pitching to one of the best catchers in the state — Hallie Randolph. Davis said she’s expecting some big things from the sophomore following a strong summer.

“It helps out a lot, having a girl with some experience,” Davis said. “If we do have a bad pitch or a wild pitch, nine times out of 10 she’s going to block it, and if she does block it and someone tries to run on her, she’s going to throw them out. She had a tremendous summer behind the plate for us, so we’re expecting her to continue to play well.”

Davis has also brought in former Oklahoma State University player Julie Ward to help assist the Lady Pioneers with hitting — something that was a bit of a sore spot for Stillwater last season.

“Our goal is to score six to eight runs per game,” Davis said. “We’re still working out the lineup — figuring out where everybody needs to be. But Julie Ward has (given) us so many little tips, everything that’s helped the girls realize it’s the small things that make the difference.”

Even with a tough schedule ahead, Davis said she feels like this year’s team could be a contender to make a run for state as long as the defense holds up and they can continue to work on the little things.

“I feel like we’re going to be better,” Davis said. “Some of the seniors played last year as juniors, so they know what to expect as far as the challenges and everything with the game. I think we’re going to be pretty solid defensively.

“I’m just going to let them go out there and play. I always tell them that winning will take care of itself. If we take care of the routine plays, the ‘W’ will take care of itself at the end of the day.”

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