By CHRIS EDENS
The Lady Mustang softball team has been warming up in pre-season scrimmages.
Oologah started practice the first week in July and the Lady Mustangs have already played three scrimmages. Oologah head coach Kerry Hallman said his young team will need to improve quickly.
“We’re going to be very young. We have a lot of talent but it’s going to be a learning process at the beginning of the season,” Hallman said. “Having a lot of young girls will help in the future.”
There are only four seniors on this year’s roster and few returning starters. Senior catcher Jayci Wang is out with a knee injury.
“Hopefully we’ll get her back in the next few weeks. We can use Jayci on the mound and we’re definitely missing her bat right now,” coach Hallman said.
Hallman has added three transfer students to his lineup. Junior Emma Cooper and sophomore Libby Maples will handle most of the pitching duties and freshmen Madison Neal is getting time behind the plate in Wang’s absence.
Despite having a young squad, Hallman’s goals for the season haven’t changed. He said the first goal is a 20 win season. He also wants district and regional championships and a spot at the state tournament.
“We need to play solid defense and we need some timely hitting. With Cooper and Maples on the mound we’ve got a chance to compete,” Hallman said.
Oologah opens the season Aug. 11 at 5A Claremore. The Lady Mustangs will face talented teams the first two weeks at the Wyandotte Festival, Cushing Tournament and the RSU Festival.
“I’ve always believed a tough schedule prepares you for the playoffs. Claremore is a tough opener and Hilldale, Berryhill and Mannford will be good again this year,” Hallman said. “We want to repeat as regional champions and get back to the state tournament for the fifth year in a row.”