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Broken Arrow Express

B.A.’s Mary Collins Looks Forward to Senior Season

Sports Writer

SOUTHPAW STAR: Broken Arrow softball pitcher Mary Collins in action for the Lady Tigers. She is expected to impact her team in fast-pitch this fall.

Courtesy Broken Arrow High School Athletic Department

One of the top pitchers in high school area softball late this summer and early fall will be Broken Arrow southpaw Mary Collins.

Collins, a soon-to-be senior lefty, has high expectations for the Lady Tigers. Having played softball since age four, she is dedicated to the game and can honestly tell you that she likes everything about the game.

“I like playing as a team and being counted on as a leader,” Collins says. “I think it really shows teamwork and leadership. I think that’s what benefits me the most from playing.”

Her favorite pitch to throw is the curveball. “It’s pretty fun,” she says. “It’s pretty natural since I’m left-handed.”

Her inspiration comes from her father, Ralph “Rip” Collins, who has played in men’s fastpitch and slow-pitch leagues.

“There are college and professional players that I like, but I don’t like to model myself after them,” she says. “I like to be my own self. I’ve had my dad as a big help though. He’s the one I really model after because he has taught me most of what I know, along with (Head) Coach (Randall) King and (Assistant) Coach (Mike) Norton and all the other coaches here. They’re really who I model myself after.”

Does she feel as if she is carrying the team on her shoulders when on the pitching rubber?

“Yes and no. It has a lot to do with pitching,” Collins says. “Like, if I’m doing bad, I expect my team to pick me up. If they make a hit, I’m hoping they make the plays. But whenever I am doing good, I still expect them to make plays.”

When not on the hill, she also plays outfield and first base.

“But, really, anywhere coach wants me to play, I’ll be there.” Collins says.

Having a lot of movement with the ball is what she considers her top attributes as a pitcher.

“I like to think that’s a pretty good strength. I like to think I have some speed too. Maybe not the fastest, definitely not the slowest. I think I’m pretty up there though,” a smiling Collins says.

She also plays slow-pitch, which plays in the spring. Broken Arrow did make the state tournament back in the spring but were ousted in the opening round.

Other than the rules of pitching, there really isn’t very much difference between fast-pitch and slow-pitch.

“But you still have to have the same intensity and adversity whenever you play,” she says. “There is no difference in that. I still have the same mindset whenever I throw fast-pitch, slow-pitch or play the outfield. I still think the ball is coming to me and ask myself where am I going with it.”

Collins is committed to play collegiately at Oklahoma State. After a pleasant recruiting visit, Collins decided an hour west to Stillwater was the direction she needed to go.

“I really like the coaches,” she says. “They’re really nice and caring. My older brother went to OSU for a year and I would go visit him, and every time I was there, I just felt like I was at home. That’s what really made it a set deal.”

Collins chose OSU over Kansas. She looks forward to the challenges.

“I know that high school ball and college ball is different,” she says. “In high school, I play against people that I know that go to the high schools around me, people that I’ve known my whole life. In college, I’m playing people from all over the United States that I’ve never seen. I think that’ll be nice.”

In 2016, Broken Arrow finished as regional runner-up with a record of 21-18. Collins made the Class 6A-4 All-District Team.

A team trip to Colorado last year, in which the Lady Tigers’ played in a tournament, is Collin’s favorite high school memory so far. The players also got to enjoy a day out at Estes Park, a popular sightseeing attraction in the mountain state.

However, Collins hopes to make a better memory in October – one that deals with holding up a championship trophy with her teammates.

“I’m hoping to make it to state because this past season we weren’t able to,” she says. “So, I’m really hoping we can come back on the track and make it to the state tournament, and I’m really hoping to win. One of my expectations is to win. I’m hoping my team does well and play their hardest.

“I think we have a lot of hard-working kids who are coming back,” Collins says. “We have a couple of leaders are pretty good too.

Yukon, who eliminated BA in the regional final a year ago, Moore, Westmoore and Southmoore will be the toughest foes in the Lady Tigers’ way, Collins says.

“But, any of the teams we play are difficult. We can’t take any teams lightly because anyone can beat us. We’re not unbeatable,” she adds.

Updated 06-17-2017

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