Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

August 7, 2012

Time to play ball

Keys counting on Stopp, Rainbolt as 2012 softball season begins.

No doubt about it, Keys’ softball team is going to have a new look to it this year.

All-State outfielder C.J. Alsenay is gone. So are Ashtin Dudley and Brooke Burkart, who received their high school diplomas.

Whitney Wright moved to Tahlequah and will occupy third base for the Lady Tigers.

Mack Chambers will no longer be flashing signs from the dugout after taking a job at Broken Arrow.

But first-year coach Lynetta Fisher is supremely confident in the club she has at her disposal in 2012.

“We have some very hard workers, and we’re going to field a pretty solid team,” Fisher said. “They’re very coachable. They’re willing to work wherever and play wherever. They’re all willing to do whatever to help the team.”

There is good news for Keys. The same battery mates that worked together last season — Jasi Stopp in the pitching circle and Sydni Rainbolt at catcher — will paired up again in 2012.

“It makes it a more solid base to build around,” Fisher said of Stopp and Rainbolt. “It also allows the rest of the team to think, ‘this is still a pretty solid spot.’”

Fisher takes over for Chambers after having led the charge at El Reno from 2004 to 2011. During her time in the Oklahoma City area, Fisher led El Reno to five state tournament appearances, including a second-place finish in 2007.

Since being hired back in late June, it’s just been a matter of Fisher getting to know all the girls on the team.

“I’ve been getting to know them and they’ve been getting to know me,” said Fisher, a Tahlequah High School graduate. “I think I’ve thrown a whole bunch of new stuff at them, but I like I said they’re very coachable.”

As for expectations when Keys opens its season at Roland on Tuesday, Fisher said it’s to win early and win often.

“We haven’t talked too much about (expectations),” Fisher said. “But they do know that I do have high expectations. But again, I think (the players) have high expectations of me in taking them where they want to be this season.”

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