HUDDLING UP: Owasso players display great teamwork in their quest for the Oklahoma State championship.
Courtesy Owasso Athletic Department
Go to an Owasso fast-pitch softball game, and you’ll witness an arsenal of power-hitters in the Lady Rams’ line-up.
Just about every player that takes the plate can blast the ball, and they don’t just aim for the long ball. They’ll get as many singles, doubles and triples they can, whatever it takes to pile up the runs.
“We don’t preach home runs,” Owasso coach Shane Eicher says. “We want doubles. We try to hit them in the gaps. Just hitting the ball square is what we want to do.
The home runs will take care of themselves. Just hit the ball hard, put the ball in play and make something happen.
“We just go out with the mindset, let’s try to drive the ball to the opposite field. Let’s try not to hit a home run. When you try to hit a home run, bad things happen.” Eicher says.
As of Sept. 15, Owasso stands in first place in District 6A-4 at 22-2 overall and 9-0 in the district. Nine games remain on the schedule before moving on to postseason.
The Lady Rams have Rylie Boone, a transfer from Edison, who is just a sophomore yet is already committed to the University of Oklahoma and play for Patty Gasso. There is also a freshman on the team committed to play for the Sooners, who won a national championship this past summer.
“The big deal is that neither of the kids who are committed, they don’t let it go to their head,” Eicher says. “They’re out here for the team. And that’s what’s really great about this group of kids. It’s really just a ‘team-first’ atmosphere. There is not a whole lot of selfishness for this group. If they have to lay down a bunt, they’re going to lay down a bunt. That’s what is so special about these kids.”
Seniors on the team are first baseman Emily Perry, centerfielder Daelyn Denny, left fielder Aimee Adair, shortstop Allie Eicher and outfielder Bailee Blundell. Freshman third baseman Paige Knight and junior second baseman Makenzie Goins have also been factors for the Lady Rams.
“Every kid is their own unique hitter,” Eicher says. ‘We got a little bit of speed, we got a little bit of power and we got a little bit of consistency at putting the ball in play. From lead-off to two-hole, those guys are the table-setters; they can run, but they can also hit it out of here, or hit some gaps or whatever.”
The Lady Rams are also dedicated teammates. In the night cap of the Muskogee doubleheader on Sept. 8, they were cheering on junior Carley Jefferson, who played for the first time this season after she had brain surgery in the summer.
“She is a great kid and we’re happy to have her back so soon,” Eicher says. “She’s been here for every practice and every game for her teammates. We were so happy to get her back at bat.”
Owasso had one of its best experiences in strength this season when it traveled up to St. Louis on Labor Day weekend to play in a tournament. The Lady Rams faced off against the teams from the area and even played another Oklahoma team, Coweta. They won every game in close-fashion.
The Lady Rams hope to be holding up a state championship trophy in October but know they have to take care of business first.
“That’s our goal,” Eicher says. “We can’t be looking past anybody because anybody can beat you. Last year, we had a great team, and we ended up getting beat in the regionals. We don’t want that to happen. We got a great group of seniors, and we’ve got to work hard every day.”