HEALDTON — For the first time in more than 15 years, the Healdton Lady Bulldogs will take the field for fast pitch softball this season under a new head coach.

HEALDTON — For the first time in more than 15 years, the Healdton Lady Bulldogs will take the field for fast pitch softball this season under a new head coach.

Former Healdton Bulldogs athlete Tyler Lewis will be stepping in this season in place of former head coach Joel Bradberry, who stepped down after the 2017 slow pitch softball campaign. 

Lewis will be tasked with the challenge of leading the Lady Bulldogs back to a place they haven’t been since the 2013 season, the state tournament.

“It’s really exciting for me, but it’s also very humbling to have been called back home,” Lewis said. “Coach (Joel) Bradberry did a tremendous job, and set up a great tradition here at Healdton. That’s a great thing for me because I don’t have to come in and set up anything like that. These girls know what the expectations are for this program, and they know what we need out of them.” 

Last season the Lady Bulldogs managed to win another district championship with two one-run victories over Latta, before falling in the regional tournament with losses to Silo and Colbert.

Ironically enough this season, a district title would give the Lady Bulldogs a leg up in the regional tournament as the landscape for Class 2A has changed when it comes to the playoffs.

Healdton will be in an eight-team district this season, with the top four teams making the regional tournament, while the district champion will host a regional tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs though will have their work cut out for them as they will have to deal with the defending state runner-up in Silo, along with regional rival Colbert, as well as Coalgate, Stratford, Wynnewood, Calera, and Latta.

“It’s a mixture of excitement, but business as usual for us,” Lewis said. “We know though, that we’re going to have to show up and play everyday in district. With this new format, we have to go and get it, and that makes our girls excited. For us, we’d have to play these teams at some point, so why not go against them in the regular season and give it everything we have?”

Helping make the transition easier with a new coach will be a total of four upperclassmen on this seasons roster for Healton.

Whisper Love and Kira Pierce will be the only two seniors on the roster, as they will be joined by junior players Arika Ellison and Torree Wingo.

Healdton will also have a total of eight freshman and sophomore players playing this season. 

“Money can’t buy experience, and having two seniors on this team is immeasurable for us,” Lewis said. “My two seniors (Whisper Love and Kira Pierce) are really helping bring these girls up and it’s really making things easy for us so far this season.” 

Healdton will open the season Monday at home against Silo beginning at 4:30 p.m. and will continue district play on Tuesday at Latta. 

The Lady Bulldogs will then make their way to Central High for the Lady Bronchos Invitational tournament in Marlow beginning on Aug. 9 and running until Aug. 11. 

District play will then resume on Aug. 13 against Wynnewood.