Fastpitch softball teams ready for action

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite

Grab your peanuts and Cracker Jack because it’s time to play ball. The fastpitch softball season is upon us and kicks off Monday with a number of contests across Oklahoma.

The Plainview High School softball team will take the field at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10 at Turner High. The Lady Indians usually play several summer league games and scrimmages, but there were few opportunities this offseason due to COVID-19.

Fourth-year head coach Kenna Hunter isn’t worried though.

“My girls are ready to play and compete,” Hunter said. “They are hungrier than I have ever seen them.”

It won't take long for Plainview to find out how hungry it is with two games in two days, with the second being its home opener at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11 against Marlow.

“Turner and Marlow always have good ball clubs and are always coached well,” Hunter said. “I think it will be a battle that we are prepared for. We are going to the Tuttle Tournament and will face three teams who were in the state tournament in our class last fall. We will have our work cut out for us but it is a chance to see how we compare to some of the top teams in the state.”

Lone Grove also has its work cut out for it early on and opens the season at home against Kingston at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by a doubleheader at Madill scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Lady Longhorns then host Pauls Valley at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Some teams may not enjoy so many games in the first week, but Lone Grove couldn’t start practice until July 15 and played its first scrimmage contest August 3 due to COVID-19.

“On a normal summer, we will play about 20 summer league games in June and play quite a few games in July along with the July 15 practice start date,” said Lady Longhorns head coach Jimmy Miller. “With that being said, we are not as tuned in as we would like to be going into the season, but I think everyone is in that same boat. We will learn from our mistakes every day and improve as the season progresses.”

Dickson, meanwhile, opens its season at Marietta at 4:30 p.m. Monday, followed by home contests against Ringling at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Kingston at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13.

"I think playing at this point is crucial," said Lady Comets head coach Kristin Williams. "No matter how much you try to put the game-like scenarios in practice, it’s just not the same. I’ve got a great group of kids who are able to make adjustments when needed."

Dickson should have a pretty good idea of those adjustments by the time it makes the short trip to Ardmore at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14.

Speaking of Ardmore, the Lady Tigers kick off 2020 a day later than most teams as they’ll host El Reno at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ardmore returns to the field Wednesday with a 5 p.m. game at Lexington, followed by a home contest against Dickson on Friday.

“We’ve logged in almost two dozen scrimmages in a six-week window, so I believe we’re moving in a positive direction,” said Lady Tigers head coach Lee Mays. “We lost several festival opportunities in June due to COVID-19, but we’re focused on what we can control and believe we’ve made small steps in the right direction.”

Other area games include Sulphur welcoming Byng to town at 5 p.m. Monday, before traveling to the Byng Tournament Thursday through Saturday.

Davis kicks off 2020 with a district doubleheader against Little Axe at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by a trip to Community Christian in Norman at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Following Marietta’s home opener against Dickson, it travels to Kingston at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and then takes part in the Tishomingo Tournament from Thursday through Saturday.

Wilson begins its season in Waurika with a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. against Waurika and Big Pasture. The Lady Eagles return home at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to face Temple and join Marietta at the Tishomingo Tournament.

Madill opens the year at Coleman at 4:30 p.m. Monday, followed by a doubleheader with Lone Grove at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Lady Wildcats then spend Thursday through Saturday at the Calera Tournament.