The regular season for fastpitch softball has ended in Classes 3A-A.
Now the real one begins, as prep schools across Oklahoma enter into district play, beginning today.
And in south-central Oklahoma, there is already a titanic matchup scheduled, as Kingston (19-11) takes on Lake Country Conference rival Davis (20-10). While Davis is the host and has the better overall record this season, the Wolves have struggled of late, while the Redskins are red hot entering the playoffs, having won six of the last seven games.
"We haven't been ourselves for a few games, physically," Davis coach David Griffin said. "I think we're all physically okay now. Since I've been here we've done well, so they're used to winning now and they know that we're going to have to play well to win."
Griffin will rely on one of the area's best offensive lineups to push Davis ahead to regionals, led by catcher Casady Webb, who is batting .535 and leads the area with 10 home runs.
But in the circle, Kingston will rely on Mikayla Wells, one of the most versatile and dangerous athletes around, to slow down the Wolves. Wells has not only starred as a pitcher in 2012, but also packs a wallop at the plate, batting .443 with 25 RBIs.
"Being a coach's daughter, they know how hard you've got to work, and she's done that to get where she is now," Griffin said of Wells. "She's a great pitcher, but she also hits the ball well.
"She's a very well-rounded player and she's a good leader to boot. Plus her dad's a good coach and she's learned a lot from him."
Tishomingo (11-15) at Sulphur (23-8)
Sulphur has blossomed in Heath Gilbert's first year as Bulldogs head coach, capturing the school's first regular season Lake Country Conference title. Tishomingo, however, is picking up steam after three straight wins, in which it's outscored opponents 27-6.
Players to watch — Tishomingo: CF Emilea Niblett (.370 AVG, 2 HRs), C Destiny Justus (.367 AVG, 16 RBIs), LF Mikayla Hook (.429 AVG, .538 OBP); Sulphur: P Sierra McCurry, C Hali Gilbert, 1B Allie Saunders.
Last game — Sulphur defeated Marietta 9-1 to clinch the regular-season Lake Country Conference title, while Tishomingo topped Ardmore 9-1 in its final home game.
Quotable — "They're a tough team, and they've proven they can beat anybody... They're well coached and the girls have worked hard." — Gilbert on Tishomingo
Marietta (10-13) at Plainview (17-13)
Plainview enters as one of the top teams in the area, thanks in large part to the emergence of freshman Tayte Sampson at pitcher. Sampson has been the workhorse in the circle for the Indians, logging over 150 innings during the regular season, and backed up by a strong offense, paced by Tiphani Napier's .476 batting average.
Marietta does not have quite the same caliber of offensive firepower as Plainview, but relies on a balanced attack and contributions from everybody; seven Marietta players have driven in at least 10 runs on the year.
Players to watch — Marietta: Gracie Campos (.333 AVG, 11 RBIs), Antolina Delatorre (25 R, 12 BB, .557 OBP), Shawna Dewey (1 HR, 19 RBIs), Shelby Langston (.306 AVG, 20 RBIs); Plainview: 3B Tiphani Napier (.476 AVG, 4 HR, 31 RBIs), 1B Mykah Smith (.463 AVG, 30 RBIs, 12 2B), P Tayte Sampson (154.1 IP, 102 K, 3.27 ERA).
Last game — Plainview lost 5-3 to Ada, while Marietta won a 20-15 slugfest against Turner.
Quotable — "We never expected Tayte to be throwing as much as she has... With Jade having her elbow surgery, it's been great to see her step up like this." — Plainview coach Alicia Foster on Sampson
Ringling (10-9) at Rush Springs (16-7)
Ringling enters district play coming off a loss to 4A Dickson, but coach Steve Pybas is still enthusiastic about where his team is heading into the playoffs.
"That was probably as good as we've played all year," Pybas said. "Dickson's a quality team and we competed with them."
To top Rush Springs, however, Pybas knows his team will need to reach new levels.
"We have to be error-free on defense and get timely hits at the plate," Pybas said.
Players to watch — Ringling: SS C-Leigh Butler, P Bailey Tolliver, C Chandler Smith.
Last game — Ringling lost 4-2 to Dickson, while Rush Springs squeaked by Verden 3-1.
Quotable — "We're going to have to play very good. They have a very good pitcher, and coaches around her area have said she's the real deal and probably as good as there is around this area." — Pybas on Rush Springs
Fox, Wilson (6-13) at Healdton (15-13)
Fox and Wilson have each struggled in 2012, while Healdton, ranked 15th in Class A, earns hosting rights with a 15-13 record.
The Bullodogs will welcome back leadoff hitter Morgan Fletcher to the lineup today. The junior was an All-Ardmoreite Super Team selection in 2011, and has been cleared to play by doctors after missing time this season due to an ankle injury.
Players to watch — Wilson: C Danielle Whitener, OF Mikayla Greenroyd, SS Cassidy Morse; Healdton: OF Morgan Fletcher, P Jenna Martin, INF Ashley Collier.
Last game — Wilson fell 6-5 to Turner and Healdton took a 5-0 loss to Marlow.
Quotable — "We're going to have to play error-free ball, hopefully score a few runs." — Wilson coach Scott Hartman
Turner (18-4) at Waurika (17-14)
Turner has put together an impressive 2012 campaign, securing an 18-4 record and a top 10 state ranking in Class A, but will still have to travel to Waurika for district play.
The Falcons have a formidable middle of the order in seniors Taylor Foster and Conner Harmon, and junior Andi McGill. Foster and Harmon also serve as the pitcher-catcher tandem.
Players to watch — Turner: P Taylor Foster, C Conner Harmon, INF Andi McGill.
Last game — Turner fell 20-15 to Marietta on Tuesday.