Joe Gilbert’s 2018 Lady Panthers softball team is starting out mainly on the road this week, with three out of four games being played away from Barnsdall.


Gilbert’s squad was scheduled to open Monday at Pawnee, and to be at Caney Valley on Thursday and at 6A Bartlesville on Friday. The home game was scheduled for Tuesday, against 5A Skiatook.


“Monday, we go down to Pawnee and face that flamethrower, and she’ll make it a little tough on us,” Gilbert said last Thursday, explaining his team would be exposed to a hard thrower immediately.


He was right. Tuesday morning he reported that Pawnee won 9-0, behind a one-hitter from its pitcher.


“We could be,” Gilbert said, when asked if his team will be competitive. “It depends on our pitcher (senior Kinnley Bloomfield). It depends on how far she takes us. That’s a lot on her shoulders.”


Gilbert added he will be looking to see how well his team does on defense, and he’s hoping to get a stellar season from senior catcher Jasmine Shores, who hit .395 a year ago and has been scouted by schools at the next level.


“She’s going to have to hit it pretty well this year,” Gilbert said.


Gilbert said he anticipated starting five seniors, two juniors and two sophomores. He lost three starters to graduation in the spring, but his starters this fall have experience, he said.


Gilbert is assisted with the softball team by Deryl Wyrick.