Tahlequah Daily Press

TDP Sports Blog

March 26, 2013

Introduction to Tahlequah's slowpitch softball team

Tahlequah's slowpitch softball team is ranked sixth in Class 6A and is 4-0 to this point. But the Lady Tigers' season kicks into high gear today with a doubleheader at Poteau.

Make sure to brush up on your Tahlequah softball knowledge before setting attending a game.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of Matt Cloud's team:

- Catcher:
Bub Peters.

Analysis from Cloud: "She has worked very hard in the offseason on strength and speed. She should hit in the 5 hole and drive in runs for us."

- Pitcher: Erin Dillard.

Cloud: "She will primarily pitch and see some time in the outfield. She won't have to hit for a high average as long as she throws strikes and gets outs like she has done in the past few games."

- First base: Kortney Dry.

Cloud: "May have as much raw talent as anyone on the team. Kort has huge upside and will hit anywhere from 3 to 5 in the order."

- Second base: Kirsten Chase.

Cloud: "We need her to drive in every run she can for us to be successful."

- Shortstop: Randee O'Donnell.

Cloud: "Randee is a junior who will hit in the 3 spot. She makes every play at shortstop, and she has the ability to drive in runs and will be counted on to do so."

- Third base: Whitney Wright.

Cloud: "She is one of our fastest base runners who will make a ton of plays for us. She has the ability to stretch some doubles into triples."

- Left field: Caitlin Chucalate and Lindsay Wade.

Cloud: "Caitlin has improved greatly and will hit lower in the order and get some big hits for us. Lindsay is learning the game. She has great athletic ability."

- Center field: Marisa Girdner.

Cloud: "She will anchor our outfield with her speed and willingness to go get balls. She will surprise people with the pop in her bat."

- Rover: Britney Johnson

Cloud: "She will hit lead off and score a ton of runs for us. She is very quick and will get to a lot of balls on the right side."

- Right field: Lainey Wallace, Morgan Tarrance and Chloe Barker.

Cloud: "Lainey will get some hits lower in the order and drive in runs for us. We're waiting to see how Morgan responds from a knee injury, but we could use her bat in our lineup. Chloe is another kid that can play defense anywhere in the outfield and get on base."

Here are some players who could surprise for Tahlequah in 2013:

- Wright, Dry and Wade. All three will play important roles in replacing seniors that graduated from last year's team. Wright takes over Whittney Whittmore's spot at third base and in the middle of the batting order. Dry will pick up where Kaitlenn Rippetoe left off at first base and as a run-batted-in producer. Wade will make an impact while filling Shelby Sanders' and Jenna Reed's absence in the outfield.

Thoughts from Cloud: "I think Wright, Dry and Wade will make our defense a whole lot better. They are all relatively fast and know the game, which helps with defensive decisions."

Dates to circle on the calendar:

- March 29-30: Tahlequah will be put to the test at the Big Cat Classic in Moore. The Lady Tigers are slated to take on Class 6A No. 12 Norman, 4A No. 2 Washington, 6A No. 8 Southmoore, 6A No. 5 Jenks and 4A No. 1 Dale.

- April 6: The Lady Tigers will begin the day with a matchup against 6A No. 4 Union at the Muskogee Slugout. Then, based on results in pool play, Tahlequah could face Jenks, Muskogee or Westmoore in bracket play.

- April 8: Tahlequah will play a doubleheader on the road at Berryhill, a top-10 team in 5A.

- April 12: Regional tournament assignments will be handed out for teams in 6A. Tahlequah will compete with Jenks, Union, Muskogee and Broken Arrow for a home regional assignment.

- April 18: With the playoffs looming, Tahlequah will play Broken Arrow and Union at Broken Arrow in a pre-postseason tune-up.

Cloud on this year's schedule: "We play an incredibly tough schedule this year, and you might see it by our record when it all shakes out. ...I don't think we have an easy game on the schedule to this point, which will help us in the postseason."

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TDP Sports Blog

Ben Johnson has been the sports editor at the Tahlequah Daily Press since 2009. He's a Broken Arrow native and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He's also an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.

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