Replacing seniors is something a team does every year, and the Outlaws softball team is no different. They will have to replace a few key seniors to try and get back to winning another district title and move on to state.
The Lady Outlaws finished the 2018 campaign with a record of 25-8 and was one game away from the Class 3A State Tournament by falling in the if-necessary game for the regional championship.
Being led by veteran head coach Brian Miller, the Lady Outlaws have played several weeks in their own scrimmage league and then in Chickasha this past weekend to get ready for 2019.
Miller is trying to fill the spots before the regular season begins next week and the Lady Outlaws play in the Duncan Scrimmage Festival this weekend.
“The biggest thing for preparation is trying to fill in spots. We lost four or five players that were pretty good and the main thing is trying to fill in, really starting with our infield first,” Miller said. “The question is who do we need to play on the infield and then move to the outfielders. Right now, realistically, we are in a good place because we have a bunch of girls that can play a lot of positions.”
Miller has used both sets of scrimmages to get familiar with the Lady Outlaws and has said that nobody has really taken over yet in some positions, but his goal is to find nine hitters and then go from there.
Being the third year in the new format where districts are played throughout the regular season in Marlow’s Class 3A, Miller has a quick turnaround to play a district foe in week one of the schedule.
The Lady Outlaws will play a non district game to open the year and then play four straight district games to open the season. Miller said that is why his team has done a lot of scrimmages.
“We wouldn’t probably be scrimmaging as much this time of the year if it wasn’t for our district schedule,” Miller said. “The more good live pitching the better we are going to be. That is a lot of the reason we are scrimmaging a lot more this time of the year because you can’t wait three weeks into the season to start playing well. You got to start off and play your best early on or you could be in trouble in your districts. That is the biggest change over the past when we didn’t have districts. I used to always think that three weeks into the season we will start playing well, but you can’t do that anymore, you got to come out to start hitting on all cylinders that you can.”
Leading the way on the mound is Jayleigh Totten who has spent the last several years in the circle for the Lady Outlaws and Miller has the utmost confidence in his pitcher.
“We have confidence and the difference is when she steps on the mound we do have a lot of confidence in her. We play really well when she is out there most of the time, but we have to learn to do that all of the time,” Miller said. “She is a leader and there is no doubt about it, but it also helps when you got a pitcher who can get 8-10 strikeouts a game.”
The goal for the Lady Outlaws is to make the state tournament and Miller hopes that means another district title.
“It is a little bit harder now when it is not a two team district. When you have six teams in a district that could win a title it would be really good especially when you are not the favorites this year,” Miller said. “Of course our whole ultimate goal is to play for a state title. The seniors want nothing more than to play their last game at the state tournament so I think the whole team knows that.”
Marlow will play Cyril starting at 3:50 p.m. Thursday Aug. 8 at Hines Park on Field 1 and will start the regular season on the road at 5 p.m. Monday Aug. 12 at Lexington.