By CHRIS EDENS
Last season ended in a dog pile celebration at Hall of Fame Stadium.
This season, the Lady Mustang softball team will defend their 4A state championship. First year head coach Kerry Hallman likes his team’s chances to take state again.
“Our goal is to repeat as state champs,” Hallman said. “We have five starters coming back. If we stay together and stay healthy, we have as good a shot as anybody.”
Oologah finished last season with a 31-5 record. The Lady Mustangs rolled through the state tournament last year and only allowed one run in three games.
Hallman was an assistant under head coach Andrea Vaughan last season.Vaughanaccepted a coaching position at RSU. Hallman said the coaching change has been a smooth transition.
“I already had a good relationship with the girls and they know what I expect. Coach Vaughan and I had a lot of the same philosophies so they’re used to the way we’re doing things,” Hallman said.
Returning starters are seniors Hunter Jeffs, Alex Edinger and Jennifer Hertel and juniors Jayci Wang and Kelsie Hagen. Coach Hallman said base running should be a team strength this season.
“Our team speed should be good with Alex as a lead off hitter,” he said. “Kelsie has good speed around the bags and freshmen Kenzie Callio is a good base runner.”
Hallman will have 16 girls in uniform this season and six are freshmen. The freshmen will play on the JV squad and they will get playing time with the varsity team.
The Lady Mustang defense should be strong with Jeffs in the circle and Wang back behind the plate. Jeffs had 173 strikeouts last season with a .72 ERA. Jeffs battled through a shoulder injury last year. She recovered from surgery over the summer and Hallman said she’s ready to go.
“She looks pretty good. She’s working on her endurance but her velocity is good. As the season goes on her endurance will get better,” Hallman said. “With Hunter on the mound I think we can beat anybody.”