COMMERCE — There’s a familiar face in charge of the Commerce fast-pitch softball program.
Bobby Crawford, an assistant for seven years, now is the head coach of the Lady Tigers.
He succeeds Kaily Harvey.
Crawford previously spent three seasons as head coach at McDonald County High at Anderson, Missouri, was co-head coach of FAST (a co-op between Fairland and Afton) in 1998 and head coach at Afton in 1999 and 2000.
He becomes the Lady Tigers’ fourth coach in five seasons.
After Jerry Myers stepped down after the 2014 season, Bill Rogers spent two seasons as the Lady Tigers coach and Harvey stepped in after his retirement.
The Lady Tigers haven’t had a winning season since 2013, when they finished 12-12.
They were 10-15 in 2014, 12-18 in 2015, 13-18 in 2016 and 11-15 a year ago.
Wyandotte swept CHS in Class 2A district play a year ago, losing 20-2 and 10-0.
“We have a bunch of young players,” Crawford said. “We don’t have any seniors. We’ve got a bunch of girls who have been playing summer ball on travel teams. They’ve seen a lot of pitches this summer and have played a lot of defense.
“We should be pretty solid.”
The Lady Tiger roster includes 23 players — no seniors — this season, providing good depth.
He said lot of them could fit in at different places. “A lot of them can step in and run bases if we need to. Depth is definitely a lot better than it has been in the past.”
Junior Ashley Barton is in the circle again.
“She will be able to keep the batters off balance and when they put it in play, she will have a good defense behind her,” Crawford said.
Junior Sunny Crawford is the Lady Tiger catcher.
The Commerce infield includes junior Morgan Connell at first, junior Rhyane Hallett at second, freshman Giselle Gutierrez at shortstop and junior River Friel at third base.
“We have options with the middle infielders,” Bobby Crawford said. “River can also play some outfield and Giselle can play third. Marisa Scott can go to second. Also, Miriam Nino has played a lot of second base. Ashley Myers played lot first and outfield. Freshman Sidney Hailey can catch and play some infield or outfield for us.
The Commerce outfield includes Dawn Convirs in left, Scott in center and Cali Wells, who will patrol right.
“We’ve got a lot of options where if things aren’t going well, we can move some girls around,” Bobby Crawford said. “We’ve got some good ones coming up in the junior high and we’ve got some good ones that have moved up to the high school.”
The Lady Tigers have been assigned to Class 2A-District 8 with Fairland, Quapaw, Wyandotte, Hulbert, Chouteau, Colcord and Ketchum.
This is the first time for Classes 2A and 3A to have districts. The larger classes have played with that format for several years.