The Duncan Banner
While the world series might be a few weeks away, today the high school softball equivalent begins at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Eight teams from across the state will be fighting for the right to be called champions, with the Duncan Lady Demons (23-15) being among them.
DHS will begin its quest for its first ever fast pitch state title today at 5 p.m. against Grove (23-5) in the state quarterfinals.
“If we go compete, and play well, then things will take care of themselves,” Duncan coach Robert Cowan said. “Grove has a very talented pitcher who is averaging 10 strikeouts per game to go with one walk per game. If they are getting that many outs, it means they don’t have to do much. But, that’s why you play the game because you never know what can happen.”
In order to make it to the state semi-finals, the Lady Demons will have to navigate through tough pitching and a solid hitting lineup.
For the Lady Ridgerunners, Jessica Walker is undoubtedly the ace of the pitching staff. During the 2012 season, Walker is 22-3 with an ERA of 0.68, while totaling 261 strikeouts to go with 35 walks.
Opponents haven’t had much success against Walker this season, as they are hitting a combined .154 for the year.
During the regional round against Bishop Kelley, Walker threw 11 innings of work allowing just one run with 24 strikeouts.
Hitting the ball, the Lady Ridgerunners are led by thirdbasemen Taylor Dodson, who leads the team with eight homeruns to go with 32 RBI for the season. She has also totaled a .515 batting average and a .971 slugging percentage.
Lead off hitter Ashleigh Tramel is second on the team with four homeruns to go with 28 RBI’s and a .444 batting average.
“Basically we need base hits and we’ll have to find the gaps,” Duncan catcher Berkley Faulkner said. “I just want to go out and have fun. There’s a little butterflies there, but I’m not going to stress out about it.”
Grove will be making its third consecutive appearance at the state tournament, having fallen in the semi-finals the past two seasons. GHS has won two previous state championships in 1996 and 2000.
“We’ll have to play error free and not make mistakes,” Cowan said. “They are a little more seasoned because they have been to the semi-finals the past two years. Were just going to have to play really well against them to give ourselves a chance.”