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The Marlow softball team returns just one senior for 2013, but don’t be fooled – the Lady Outlaws bring about as much experience as any team they’ll be facing this season.
Following an exit at regionals to Lindsay to end a 27 win season last year, Marlow’s goal is clear. It’s all about getting to the Class 3A State Tournament.
“We have nine players coming back that were major contributors a year ago,” Marlow head coach Brian Miller said. “We have our two starting pitcher back and that always gives us a chance to end up where we want to.”
Fielding a team with one senior, Meagan Bourne, six juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen, the team returns 11 players.
Recent graduate and former All-State player Avery Walker will no longer hold down the fort at second base, but Miller said six positions around the field have likely already been solidified.
Marlow’s pitching staff is in good of shape as ever, with junior Gigi Wall and sophomore Shelby Elroy slated to lead the team on the mound. Wall hopes to build on a strong sophomore campaign, where she went 24-8 with an unprecedented .91 earned run average. In five games last season, Abbey Warren also took the mound, winning three contests while owning a 1.81 ERA.
“They can definitely continue to help our team,” sophomore catcher Kaytlyn Kizzar. “They have the experience and ability to take this team as far as they want to take us.”
Kizzar will return to her spot at catcher, while junior Shayna Throckmorton will resume her position at third base and sophomore Corrie Moore will once again start at third base. Miller was quick to refer to Kizzar, fresh off a freshman year that included a .360 batting average and a team-best 43 hits, as one of the team’s leaders. Throckmorton also played a key role at the plate in 2012, batting .306 with a pair of home runs.
As the team’s lone senior, Meagan Bourne will be back in left field. Walker’s former spot at second base and the other two slots in the outfield remain as the only positions yet to be decided. Miller said junior Diamond Morris could be a top candidate to start at second after playing in 26 games last season.
“Time’s going to tell,” Miller said. “While we have those six spots pretty much decided, the other three are still up in the air for now.”
The Lady Outlaws’ lineup has a similar outlook to its defensive positions – while much has been decided, the beginning of the season will help determine how the rest of it will be structured. Kizzar will occupy the leadoff position, Warren is expected to hit second and Throckmorton and Elroy will hit in the top half of the lineup as well. What remains to be seen is which players will step up to hit later in the lineup.
“Kaytlyn brings a lot of balance in the leadoff spot because she offers power and a lot of speed. She hits for contact all the time,” Miller said. “Gigi has a lot of power and I’m hoping we can eventually put Abbey in the three or four hole so she can drive in runs. A lot of it will depend on the success of the bottom of the line up and filling those positions.”
Looking ahead to the 2013 season, the focus is on Marlow’s opening games – six contests at the Tuttle Tournament, which begins August 15.
“Since we don’t have any set districts in Class 3A, the people you’re going to play are determined by your ranking and record,” Miller said. “Since the rankings begin after about three weeks, it’s critical that we got out to a strong start early on.”
Miller pointed to Washington, Davis and Sulphur as potential foes for Marlow to face at that level.
“They’re not on our schedule, but those are the teams we’ll likely face at districts or regionals,” Miller said.