After hosting the district tournament in 2018, the Velma-Alma Lady Comets are hoping 2019 will bring them one more year of experience that will have them ready for the softball season and a possible year two of hosting.
Lady Comets head coach Stefan Hunt led his team to a 12-14 record in 2018. The 2019 team will feature one senior, three juniors and the rest of the team made of freshman and sophomores. The sophomore group this year saw a lot of playing time in 2018.
The Lady Comets have spent this summer playing in the Marlow league, camps and the scorcher in Chickasha.
Hunt said the team is getting ready for the 2019 season and is hoping the experience of the league and camps will be beneficial to them given the competition they faced.
“The experience we got playing in the Marlow league and the scorcher up in Chickasha this summer while also playing in a couple of FCA camps over in Ardmore and Lawton, we got to see some good competition,” Hunt said. “In my mind, I think four or five of the teams we played this summer will be top 10 caliber teams. It was good to judge where we were or where we are right now against teams that you know will be vying for the state tournament. I’m extremely happy with what I have seen this summer.”
The lone senior for the Lady Comets is Jonna Kimbrough and Hunt is excited about the leadership she will bring to the team and Velma-Alma.
With the regular season beginning Monday on the road against Alex, Hunt said that he is eager to see how his team responds to live game action and how they handle the adversity of those game situations.
“We have been scrimmaging all summer and like I mentioned earlier, I am extremely happy with what I have seen,” Hunt said. “It will be interesting to see how the girls handle adversity and how they will handle being down one or two to nothing or three to nothing and seeing how they respond to those situations.”
Hunt said this summer they have also focused on developing the pitching staff. Last year the Lady Comets relied on now sophomore Shain Ille in the circle.
“We will have three possibly four pitchers in the rotation in Shain Ille, Mackenna Rubrecht and Katie Barton who will throw some as well this lear,” Hunt said. “With those three pitchers I feel like we have an opportunity that maybe we didn’t have last year. We relied on Shain pretty much the entire season last year as a freshman and the progress I have seen her make from last year to this year is unbelievable.”
On the offensive side of things, Hunt mentioned that Barton, an All-Area selection last year, will anchor the offense for the Lady Comets and they will also have juniors Destinee Wofford and Jaycee Kimbrough who are fast and help on the base paths.
“Those three right there, I would put up against anybody getting around the bases,” Hunt said. “They are really intelligent softball players. They know how to move and know how to take advantage of every opportunity that is given to them.”
Hunt knows the quality of his players and it has him excited and hopeful for a trip further in the playoffs.
“I really believe in the quality of players that we have here at Velma this year,” Hunt said. “I have told them all along, even though we are young we are not going to use inexperience as an excuse. Because they have played a lot of softball they know what to do. We expect to be playing for district championship and we expect to be playing that Saturday at Regionals to make it to the state tournament.”
Hunt, on his third year of coaching at Velma-Alma, said that the team goals are simple and is hoping to make the State Tournament a reality in 2019.
“Our goals have been set and collectively if each one of those girls do what they are supposed to individually then collectively as a team I feel most of those goals will be met,” Hunt said. “But in all it kind of reverts to staying healthy and anybody who makes the state tournament has to have some breaks go their way. Hopefully with those things being said and the talent we have good things will happen and the opportunity presents itself that we can take advantage of.”
First pitch for the first game of the regular season will be at 4:30 p.m. at Alex on Aug. 12. The Lady Comets will then open the season at home against Bray-Doyle starting at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 and then play in the Central High Tournament.