Stillwater News Press

September 17, 2013

Stillwater's Stokes shows leadership through sacrifice

By Nick Snow
nicksnow@stwnewspress.com

STILLWATER, Okla. — Most players love ripping a double off the wall. Not Stillwater High School left fielder Mackensie Stokes.

Her favorite thing to do in the batters box? Bunt.

That’s right, no frozen ropes to left, just a little dribbler down the line that moves a runner over will do.

Then again, if you knew the Stillwater senior, that wouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

“She is one of our top leaders,” Stillwater coach Amber Davis said. “She’s just an all-around great kid. She leads them in the outfield, she’s moved up to the No. 3 spot for us — she’s just a good kid.”

Stokes was definitely a leader against Broken Arrow, going 3 for 3 with a double and RBI in the 14-3 loss to the Tigers Thursday, but it’s a different kind of leadership that makes her special.

From constantly changing positions last season to constantly being shuffled up and down the batting order, Stokes has learned to take everything in stride — a smile rarely leaving her face.

“She has one of the best attitudes that we could ever have,” Davis said. “She stays positive no matter what. She keeps the girls pumped up in the dugout and she loves to cheer them on.”

“I think the thing for me that keeps things in perspective when we start getting down is that softball is supposed to be fun,” Stokes said. “It’s not a career. It’s something that we’re choosing to do. It’s a fun game. Just that love of the game is kind of what pushes me and Courtney (Hughes).”

No doubt, Stokes loves the game. She’s spent countless hours over the past 10 years on the diamond with her father, learning the ins and outs of the game. But it’s the things that she hasn’t learned on the softball diamond — from her father and in her other extra-curricular activities — that have made the biggest difference this season.

“One of the things that student council has taught me is to always be a servant leader and to not approach leadership situations like I’m above every one,” Stokes said. “You have to have the mindset that you are equal, and whatever you can do for them is better for the whole.”

Hence, the love for bunting and the willingness to play any position or hit anywhere in the lineup.

“She’s involved in so many different activities in school with student council and everything at her church,” Davis said. “Her goal is to possibly be President of the United States someday. She’s just an all-around good kid.”

Stokes knows it takes a certain amount of trust to run a country, something she’s already built up with Davis over the last few years.

“It’s kind of encouraging to me to have coaches (move me around),” Stokes said. “It shows that they trust me to get the job done when I step in the box.”

Running for office may be several years down the road, but it’s safe to say — no matter what her political affiliation — at the very least Stokes has earned Davis’ vote.

“I think she has what it takes to take over this country because she’s not afraid of anything,” Davis said.

“I love politics and have been involved in student government for a long time,” Stokes said. “My dad’s the government teacher (at Stillwater Junior High School), so maybe I could run for President some day.”

Honorable mention

Cameron Mayberry, football

Laikyn Anderson, softball

Marlon McDonald, football