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Owasso Softball Gears Up for Season

By MIKE MOGUIN
Sports Writer

GOING WITH GOINS: Makenzie Goins is one of many key players who are returning to Owasso’s softball team this season.


Courtesy Owasso Athletic Department


Owasso hopes to reload and make another run at state as it gears for the 2017 fast-pitch softball season.

“We got quite a few good players coming back,” Lady Rams’ coach Shane Eicher says. “All of our pitching is coming back.”

Key returning players consist of senior Makenzie Goins, a three-year starter committed to Arkansas Tech, who will play either second or third base, junior Ryley Boone, an OU commit, who will alternate between pitching and outfield, and sophomore Paige Knight, also committed to OU. She is expected to split between the mound and third base, pending on the recovery of an injury.

“We’re waiting to see what’s going on with her,” Eicher says. “Paige is battling a shoulder issue, but she has been getting to play with her summer team. She just hasn’t been able to pitch. We’re thinking she is going to be okay.”

Junior Jordan Hausher, the Lady Rams’ No. 1 pitcher in 2016, also returns.

“Obviously, in softball, pitching is a lot of the game,” Eicher says. “Jordan did really well last year. Ryley and Paige also did real well. Those are our three main pitchers. Then, we have quite a few more pitchers that are going to be competing that have gotten better from the year before too. I love the fact that our competition is great. We’re pretty excited about that.  We have four or five girls who are going to be competing for that spot in the circle.”

Gone from graduation are Allie Eicher, daughter of coach Shane Eicher, Daelyn Denny, Emily Perry, Bailee Blundell and Aimee Adair.

But the Lady Rams have new talent rising through the ranks that should take over the positions vacated.

“It is a huge challenge,” Eicher says. “Not only were they all good players, they were the leaders of the team. Now we have to figure out who is going to be the next leader and the good thing about it is, we always have kids to step up and take that role.

“We had Allie (Eicher) at short stop. We have (sophomores) Payton Compton and Caley Compton who are going to be fighting out at that position. Then we have (sophomores) Annslee Leeviraphan (second base/short stop) and Emilee Norton (pitcher/third base/first base), and other girls who are going to be fighting for those spots that those seniors left.

Sophomore Mia Ochoa will be back as catcher. Junior Carley Jefferson, who is also battling some injuries, returns to the outfield. Eicher and his staff are also excited about incoming freshmen Avery Tallman and Lily Shaw.

“We have a great core of kids coming back,” Eicher says. “And we have a bunch of really good kids coming up. We’re kind of excited to get going.”

Owasso, who finished 35-4 last year, was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A most of the season and appeared to be destined for the state champion. But Owasso was eliminated in the first round by Moore.

“Any time you get ousted, it is tough,” Eicher says. “Especially, when they have moved it to single elimination. You get to the state tournament, and it is anybody’s game. If you have a bad game or if you have a bad inning, your season could be done. Yeah, it was disappointing. Our ultimate goal was to win it. We were one of the best teams, and we had a good shot to win it. You just never know sometimes.”

Despite losing five starters to graduation, Eicher and his team are confident in making a return trip to the state tournament.

“We had quite a few young kids last year. So now they have experienced the state tournament and have seen what it’s like,” Eicher says. “We’re going to build on it, we don’t want that (elimination in first round) to happen. Our ultimate goal is to take that (gold ball) home.”

From the east side of Oklahoma, Eicher expects Union, Sand Springs, Broken Arrow, Bixby and Jenks to be the toughest foes.

“Those schools are always good,” he says. “And on the west side, you’ve got the Moore schools area, which is always good, the Edmond schools, Choctaw. It’s tough. In 6A softball, there’s a lot of good players out there.”

Updated 07-25-2017

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