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Sports

June 6, 2014

Carey’s coaching plans taking shape

COMANCHE — Comanche hired softball coach Lisa Carey this spring to turn around a program that went 0-20 last year.

The first steps in that process were taken Wednesday and Thursday as the players took the field for summer practices.

After nine years at the helm of Washburn University, Carey left as the all-time wins leader in 2011. She joins the Indians’ staff for the 2014 season hoping to replicate her success at the high-school level.

“It’s a lot different pace,” Carey said. “Your job as a high school coach is to teach mechanics, fundamentals and just learning the game. At the college level they come in knowing all those aspects.”

Carey has already made her impact with her teaching. Senior outfielder Whitney Johnson said in just two days she has become a better player. With a full season ahead of her, Johnson thinks she can improve even more with Carey’s knowledge of the game.

“From our old coach she knows more of what she’s talking about fundamental-wise,” Johnson said. “If we field a ball wrong, she knows exactly why we did it wrong. She helps us fix those mistakes.”

A member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Carey was the starting first baseman on Oklahoma’s national championship team in 2000. She was an All-American three years with the Sooners.

Senior catcher Brittnay Doucet hopes Carey can bring that winning pedigree to Comanche. Doucet said the team needs to get better on offense to do that.

“Our batting wasn’t great last year,” Doucet said. “I think we’re going to have really good bats, and our infield is looking pretty sharp already so I’m expecting good things out of that.”

Comanche’s summer league games start on June 30. Carey wants the players to use those games as a way to prepare for the fast pitch season, which starts in August. The players have already been put in live situations so far in practice to get them ready for the summer games. In Carey’s softball camp on June 17-19, which she urged the players to attend, each day will end with a scrimmage.

Carey said getting used to that competitive environment will be critical.

“That’s huge,” Carey said. “We’re trying to get everybody here at practice so we can work on different plays. We’re just going to go into league open minded, working people in different spots.”

Carey said she has more than 20 girls out for the team this year. She’s excited about some of the younger players.

“They’re going to be the nucleus of this team,” Carey said. “They’re very athletic. We’re really looking forward to starting off with the summer league and knowing what we need to work from there.”

Carey said she has noticed an excitement swirling around the program. She pointed out the demeanor the girls had in their first days of practicing.

“By the way we warmed up, what we’re doing at practices, drills and getting a lot of work in a short amount of time, they understand that it’s a different level,” Carey said. “That’s what I expect of them. They’re coming in pretty hungry as am I.”

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