Sports are a big part of the community life in Glencoe. For the fall season, Glencoe High School fielded a fast-pitch softball team and a baseball team. Both sports have been in Glencoe for a long time and Assistant Baseball Coach Rick Bales has been along for part of that ride.
Bales, who also serves as the high school athletic director, has been coaching for 42 years, spending 22 years in the Glencoe Public Schools.
“I came to Glencoe in the 1991-92 school year,” Bales said. “At that time, Glencoe only had one ball field and it was in good shape most of the time. Since then, the baseball field has transformed into one of the finest small school facilities, and we’ve added a very nice softball field. The boys and girls both have been competitive for most of the years I’ve been here.”
Kyler Dotter and Cale Lazenby are seniors on the baseball team. Dotter is the starting catcher and Lazenby is the starting pitcher. Glencoe High School Principal Chad Speer serves as the Panthers head coach.
“Coach Speer and Coach Bales are really good coaches that love the game and the players.” Lazenby said. “Every time we step on the field, we want to play the game right with a good attitude.”
One of the highlights of Lazenby’s fall season was hitting a home run during a very close game against Preston. The Panthers were first during the Oilton Tournament and third in the Earlsboro Tournament.
“We had a scrappy fall season,” Dotter said. “If we were down, we didn’t just give up – we kept working to see if could put more scores on the board.”
The future of baseball looks bright in Glencoe “with a talented young group coming up,” coach Speer said.
”Glencoe has a great program,” Dotter said. “Baseball is a privilege that I get to do. Our coaches do a good job - they don’t just teach you baseball, they teach you about life.”
Senior fast-pitch softball starter Aimee Cagle agrees.
“You learn so many life lessons,” Cagle said. “And, I think it’s humbling to see all the pride the community has in backing our school. Everyone is so supportive of all the teams.”
Tabitha Wright coaches the fast-pitch softball team. Other seniors include Rachel Snyder, Aubree Beaver and Cassie Manning. The group said they believe the softball team is like a second family for them.
“The team pulled their talents together and played some solid games this year,” Wright said. “I love the sport. I had amazing coaches growing up who influenced me in several areas of my life. I hope to pass that influence on to the girls who play with our teams.”
Sophomore pitcher Kayla Frank said softball prepares you for life situations.
“It teaches you a lot about life in general,” said sophomore catcher Mica French. “Mrs. Wright is a really good role model and makes things interesting. She’s a fun coach.”
Senior night was bittersweet because they get very close as a team – but Frank said they smoked their opponent for a great home finale.
Both softball and baseball team members said “we watch out for each other.” The players and community are all looking forward to another season.
Columnist Evan McDaniel is a senior at Glencoe High School. Students Lexi Clark, Khloy Guinn, Jace Low Dog and Jamie O’Bryant contributed to the report.