Tahlequah fastpitch head coach Chris Ray has seen plenty of progress since his team took to the field on July 15.
Ray also came away pleased following three scrimmages on Monday at Howe in what was the first competition of the preseason. The Lady Tigers defeated Heavener, 6-1, finished in a 1-1 tie against Whitesboro, and suffered a 3-0 setback to Howe.
“I think we’re probably one or two weeks ahead of schedule,” Ray said on Thursday after a scheduled home scrimmage against Inola was canceled. “I think our pitchers are a little sharper this early than maybe I’ve had in the past. They all seem to be dialed in pretty good with their primary and secondary pitches. I’m not really concerned about the hitting right now. The hitting is usually the last thing that kind of comes around. Your pitching and defense is usually a lot better than your hitting early on.”
Against Heavener, Ray started all eight of his freshmen, along with senior standout and 2019 District 5A-4 Offensive Player of the Year Betty Danner.
In the circle, Grace Baker allowed four hits over five innings. Baker collected six strikeouts and issued one walk.
Danner drove in a pair of runs, and Madison Parish, Mykayla Hayes and Baker each finished with one RBI. The Lady Tigers totaled nine hits.
Tahlequah’s infield consisted of Jersey Retzloff at catcher, Danner at first base, Hayes at second base, Paisley Qualls at third base and Charles Cochran at shortstop. In the outfield were Madi Matthews (left field), Loren Walker (center field) and Parish (right field). Defensively, the Lady Tigers committed two errors and turned one double play.
Against Whitesboro, Tahlequah’s lone run came on an RBI single through the middle of the infield by Danner that scored Lexi Hannah and put the Lady Tigers up 1-0 in the fourth inning. Hannah reached on a walk on stole second base to set the table for Danner. The Lady Tigers had three hits.
Sophomore Mikah Vann pitched all five innings, allowing just three hits. Vann registered four strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
In the infield were Hailey Enlow (first base), Danner (second base), Jayley Ray (third base), Hannah (shortstop) and Savannah Wiggins (catcher). Outfielders were Abigail Cacy, Kloie Vertz, Walker and Skyla Wilson. The Lady Tigers committed one error and turned one double play.
Senior pitcher Bailey Jones went the distance in the pitcher’s circle against Howe. Jones gave up one earned run on five hits in four innings. She finished with three strikeouts and walked one.
Everybody on the roster, except junior Nevaeh Moreno, saw action in the finale. Moreno is recovering from an injury. Enlow had a second-inning double.
Tahlequah is scheduled to travel to Shawnee for the Firelake Scrimmage Festival on Monday, Aug. 3 and will conclude its preseason schedule at the Mounds Scrimmage Festival on Aug. 7. The Lady Tigers open their regular season at home against Sand Springs on Aug. 10.