The Duncan Banner
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City is a place all too familiar for softball players, coaches and fans alike.
With such events as the World Cup of Softball and the Women’s College World Series, it’s a place where the elite of the sport have been on display.
It’s also home to the OSSAA State Softball tournament, which brings together the best teams left in each classification every season to crown a champion.
With the Duncan Lady Demons victory on Friday afternoon, head coach Robert Cowan ensured that he would be making his 13th appearance on the grand stage, something he says is a privilege and blessing.
“I’ve been lucky to have been associated with some very talented athletes throughout the years,” he said. “A lot of coaches never get to experience a state tournament, and I’ve been blessed enough to have gone as many times as I have. It’s definitely a special occasion for sure.”
Before he was helping Duncan to success, Cowan was at the helm of the Velma-Alma Lady Comets, leading them to multiple state tournament appearances.
DHS as a team, is also no stranger to the state tournament. Thursday afternoon will see the Lady Demons making their first appearance since 2010.
Cowan said he sees some similarities between his current squad and the one from two years ago.
“Both teams have their own strengths, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We do a lot of things right on the field, and both of the teams play a similar style of softball. However, we’ve never had the strength that we do this year with Berkley (Faulkner) and Courtney (Moore).”
Three players on the current squad will be making their second appearance at the state tournament, seniors Courtney Moore, Jenny Rather and Brieanna Webb.
“It’s special everytime you go, especially for the girls,” Cowan said. “Our seniors are the only ones who have been there before, so they’ll know what to expect. But, for the rest of our squad it’ll be a whole new experience for them. There’s a huge sense of pride when you walk in and have your team’s name across your chest, and I know our girls will feel that when they walk in on Thursday.”
Among the other teams who will be appearing at this year’s state tournament are Chickasha, Grove, Collinsville, Tahlequah, Deer Creek, and defending state champion Carl Albert.
“Teams like Carl Albert, Tahlequah and Grove are used to making state tournaments,” Cowan said. “Sometimes there are upsets, but usually the good programs are the ones who keep making it back. Other times its the group of players you have at your disposal. McAlester had a solid run of making it to the state tournament because of one of their pitchers, who ended up signing for Oklahoma.”
Depending on who the Lady Demons are drawn against, they could be playing anywhere from as early as 11 a.m. to as late at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
“The overall atmosphere is special,” Cowan said. “Sometimes you have a huge crowd, and other times you don’t. It just depends on what time you are playing and what field you’re on. If there’s 1500 people there then that’s what I’d consider a huge crowd. But, we’ll all be on different fields because of the different tournaments going on besides ours.”