While some things tend to change from season to season, one constant has always remained when it comes to the Ringling Lady Blue Devils softball program, their head coach.

While some things tend to change from season to season, one constant has always remained when it comes to the Ringling Lady Blue Devils softball program, their head coach.

This season will mark number 24 for Steve Pybas at the helm of the Lady Blue Devils fast pitch team, in which during his time as head coach he’s made the state tournament multiple times, including a state championship in Class 2A during the 2008 season.

But this year is different for the Lady Blue Devils as they enter 2019-2020.

Ringling last year won 15 games, marking the first time since the 2013 season they have failed to win at least 20 games in a season.

The Lady Blue Devils managed to knock out Wright City in the regional tournament, but were overwhelmed by Caddo in two defeats to end their playoff journey.

With four seniors returning this year along with a group of skilled underclassmen, expectations are being taken to a new level for Pybas and his squad. 

“We’re trying to work on the fundamentals mainly right now as far as bunt coverages, covering bases and getting to know each other,” Pybas said. “I’ve got seven returning starters, and a couple of them are going to be in different positions during the season. I’ve also got four seniors in Rayme Tolliver, Karagan Cox, Steelie Price, and Kelsea Thompson. They’ve all started since they were freshmen, and we’re looking to them to carry the leadership roles for us. Plus our freshmen are getting to see what high school ball is all about.”

Last season Thompson finished with a .359 batting average to go with 11 RBI’s and a .438 slugging percentage.

Price was close behind hitting .352 with a .465 slugging percentage while totaling 18 RBI’s for the season, while Tolliver finished with a .323 batting average with 15 RBI’s for the season.

Cox finished with a .293 batting average with 17 hits and 11 RBI’s.

Rayme Tolliver also made an impact on the mound as she went 13-7 on the year with a 2.63 ERA with 87 strikeouts for the season in 103 innings pitched.

But Ringling will also be bringing another weapon on the mound this season in sophomore Meghan Roberts, who went 3-1 on the mound last season with a 1.50 ERA with 31 strikeouts for the season in 32 innings pitched.

Also coming back this year will be juniors Sydney Southward and Kelsi Lester, who each hit over .200 last season for the Lady Blue Devils. 

“Everyone is equal this season when it comes to the dead period in July,” Pybas said. “Every day is a gift and nothing is promised. Our biggest thing is we want these girls to play like their hair is on fire and play with a lot of passion. I’ve got a great group of kids on this squad and I’m excited about this season and what’s to come for them.”