The Oklahoman

‘These kids know how to win’


With the 2021 Oklahoma high school fastpitch softball season nearly halfway finished, here are a few teams that have continued winning despite graduating All-City players from last season.

Dominant pitching for Deer Creek has led the way

Deer Creek's lone senior this year is injured so the Antlers have fielded just two players who hit in the varsity lineup last year. But that hasn't faltered the Antlers too much this season. They've in fact made school history as the first Deer Creek team to win the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference tournament last weekend. Deer Creek coach Trent Patterson said its taken everybody to earn the 11-5 record.

“It's been a combinatio­n of a little bit of everybody,” Patterson said. “We lost a lot of offensive production losing Terin (Ritz), Hailey (Evans) and Payton Norvelle because those were three girls for us last year that were all over .400 hitters.

“So we don't have the offensive firepower as far as last year but we've had a lot of girls step up especially some of the young ones hitting wise. But our pitching has been the thing that has carried us all weekend.”

Juniors Brynlee Alsip and Jaiden Coffey lead Deer Creek's pitching corps, which has combined to throw seven shutouts in its 16 games this season. The Deer Creek hitters have helped with nearly 10 home runs.

Edmond Memorial chasing first place

The Bulldogs graduated Emersen Heron, but they've managed to rally to

one of the best regular-season records in the state so far. Edmond Memorial is without its ace pitcher and secondlead­ing hitter this season due to ankle surgery but it has still recorded a 14-2 record, which Edmond Memorial coach Janet Chartney says is due to the team’s high IQ.

“They come in with these high IQ’s and we just have to put them in their spots and guide them,” Chartney said. “Our expectatio­ns were really high, and I think we’re doing really well containing everything without (our ace) here.

"Right now, everybody that I’m throwing is a freshman on the mound. But the team has done a really good job staying behind them and being positive when things haven’t gone right. But this is such a multi-talented team that its just a matter at the plate.”

Beth Damon, who made The Oklahoman’s Player of the Week list this week, has led the way at the plate for the Bulldogs. But Chartney has also liked what’s she’s seen out of shortstop Mandi Lenon and catcher Leah McAnally. The trio has helped the Bulldogs average 9.8 runs per game this season.

Carl Albert winning expectatio­ns continue

The Titans graduated two All-City players in Aerin Talley and Abbey Rogers. Although the program is led by new head coach Dani Dobbs, Carl Albert has not fallen from its championsh­ip expectatio­ns, storming off to an 8-2 record.

“With me coming in, especially coming into a program that’s had so much winning tradition and legacy,” Dobbs said, “it was very cool in the new opportunit­y because these kids know how to win and know what they’re doing and are determined. So, it was just coming in and getting to know them and getting us comfortabl­e with each other.”

Six of Carl Albert’s players are hitting above .300, and a couple are above the .400 mark. Dobbs said she’s been getting a lot of production out of seniors Ragan Kelley and Bryce Atkins and junior ace pitcher Marissa Frolich and sophomore shortstop Ausha Moore. The Titans are 4-0 in district games this season. Carl Albert has averaged 16.5 runs in those matchups.

Other teams that have replaced All-City players

Westmoore is 10-3 despite graduating both All-City players in Claira Skaggs and Ieesha Christian.

“We’re doing enough to win for the most part,” Westmoore coach Jenni Rollins told The Oklahoman last week. “My defense has been good, and my pitching has been pretty good. We’ve made adjustment­s.”

Westmoore returned starters Aynslee Linduff, Reneé Christian, Kalie Amos, KK King and Malorey Outon from last year’s team. ..

Choctaw is 13-2 on the season after graduating first-team catcher Kaiden Boren. The Yellowjack­ets are on a fivegame win streak.

Teams that returned All-City players

Power-hitter Analise Rayburn still anchors Yukon, which has stormed to an 11-6 record this season. ...

Ace pitcher Brinly Maples is still dominating from the circle as Southmoore is 8-3 on the season.

 ?? CHRIS LANDSBERGE­R/THE OKLAHOMAN ?? Analise Rayburn anchors Yukon, which has an 11-6 record this season.
CHRIS LANDSBERGE­R/THE OKLAHOMAN Analise Rayburn anchors Yukon, which has an 11-6 record this season.
 ?? James D. Jackson The Oklahoman USA TODAY NETWORK ?? High School Insider
James D. Jackson The Oklahoman USA TODAY NETWORK High School Insider

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