This season’s home opener went well for the Lady Tigers Tuesday with a 14-1 three-inning run rule of Bethany. The Lady Tigers gave up a run in the first inning, and were unable to answer in the bottom of the first.
The Lady Tigers kept Bethany off the board in the second inning, and scored seven runs in each of the next two innings. The game ended early for the varsity team giving the Lady tigers a record of 11-3. A home game is scheduled for Thursday, the date of this publication, at 7 p.m.
Pitching in the game Tuesday, Abby Rumbaugh struck out two hitters in the second inning and was backed up by a groundout. That’s when Tuttle installed a revolving door at home plate beginning with three consecutive singles from Peanut Owen, Makenna Parker and Halle Fischer. Kaylin Koeltzow hit the first RBI of the evening, scoring all three with a triple.
Cassidy Moore crossed on a Grace Morris single. Back to the top of the order, Hannah Morris cracked a double, and later got in on an RBI double from Kady Fryrear. That was after Kamryn Rackley scored Grace for the sixth run of the second inning.
Rumbaugh took care of two again in the third with strikeouts, backed up this time by a fly out at centerfield made by Rackley.
Back to the sticks, the Lady Tigers repeated their success from the previous inning with seven more runs before the mercy rule drew the evening to a close.
The Lady Tigers’ next three games are at Elk City Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., Elk City at home Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m., and at home against Woodward at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.
Last softball season ended in the semifinals of the state tournament for the Lady Tigers after run-ruling Hilldale in the quarterfinals. Four seniors will return with hopes to make it one game further in 2016.
Head Coach Rebecca Cobb has moved up from assistant coach to lead this year’s Lady Tigers. Assistant coaches for the team this season will be Blake Stringer and Shelly Starr.
Senior leadership will come from shortstop Hannah Morris, catcher Kendal Heisler, designated player/outfielder Peanut Owen, and ace pitcher/outfielder Abby Rumbaugh. Sophomore Macy McAdoo was also named a top pitcher for the Lady Tigers, but Cobb believes Tuttle may be home to the best pitching staff in the state with as many as seven capable pitchers.
“They all play competitively in the summer so that’s very rare that you have seven pitchers that can go compete,” Cobb said. “I think it is most definitely a strength.”
The Lady Tigers will return fulltime starters Morris and Keisler, as well as junior third baseman Makenna Parker and outfielder Brooklyn Kelley. The team is also complimented with several players who started regularly last season.
“We have about five outfielders that could switch out between the three positions,” Cobb said. The team has talent way down on the depth chart in every position, but Cobb said that, too, comes with its challenges. “It is nice, but then also it’s sad because you have really good players sitting on the bench.”
There are no casual players on this year’s team, only tried and true ball players already warmed up from summer ball.
Eighteen of this season’s 24 Lady Tigers played for the competitive travel ball team Oklahoma Magic, which placed third at nationals over the summer. The other six also played competitively over the summer for teams that finished at nationals within their respective leagues.
“They all have a goal in mind,” Cobb said of her players. “October is what we’re playing for. I try to tell them each day to take it one game at a time because our endgame is October. If we have a rough game, we’ll learn from our mistakes and do better next time. Win or lose, good or bad, our goal is the state tournament.”
The Lady Tigers have made it to the state tournament every season for the past 30 years except for three. In that time, they have won seven state titles, the first of which came when Coach Cobb was a senior the fall of 1994.