PHS softball squad gearing up for promising season

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
PHS softball squad gearing up for promising season

Pawhuska High School’s new fast-pitch softball coach will have two reasonable requests for the Lady Huskies in the 2015 season.

“We need to throw strikes and make the routine plays,” coach Brian Edwards said. “If we can do that, I know we’ll have a chance to win a lot of ball games.”

The Lady Huskies will be looking to build on last year’s late-season success when the 2015 campaign opens at Newkirk on Monday, August 10. Before then, they are to play back-to-back, pre-season warmup contests leading up to the annual PHS Alumni Game on Saturday, Aug. 8.

Pre-season games are set at Cleveland on Monday, Aug. 3, followed by a Tuesday, Aug. 4, exhibition test against the Lincoln Christian Lady Bulldogs. (Starting time is 10 a.m. at Cleveland and 11 a.m. in Pawhuska.) Activities for the alumni game will begin on the local softball field around 6:30 p.m.

“There’s going to be a Hit-a-thon followed by an exhibition game between this year’s varsity and a squad of former Lady Huskies,” Edwards said. “It should be a great opportunity to practice and get to know players from past Pawhuska teams.”

Last fall, the Lady Huskies claimed PHS’s first district softball title since 2011 — and then added another high-stakes victory in the 3A Regional tourney. With all except one of its starters due back, the local squad should have plenty of returning firepower — with a solid core of veteran leadership.

Edwards is due to take the reins as varsity head coach as the replacement for Olivia Chronister, who stepped down after three years at the PHS helm but is remaining at the school to be a counselor. Danny Chronister will be serving his fourth season as assistant coach of the Pawhuska team.

Expected to lead the way for the Lady Huskies will be seniors Keylee Kirk, Sarah Phillippi and Breanna Redeagle. Kirk is a four-year varsity starter at shortstop and was named MVP of the 2014 team. Phillippi swung Pawhuska’s most potent bat in 2014 and is one of three top state track hurdlers — along with sophomore Kyleigh Riebel and junior Darienne Frye who will comprise the Lady Huskie outfield.

Ace hurler Redeagle was a primary reason for the Lady Huskies’ two-game district sweep at Kellyville. The PHS pitching corps will be bolstered by sophomore Lauren Garrett and others. Brittney Summers is another senior who will help the local cause. Additional returning starters for PHS include junior infielders Sydney Sellers and Mary Jo Upchurch, and sophomore catcher Star Sweeden.

“That core group of seniors will be one of our strengths,” Edwards said, adding: “Plus, we’ve got some depth.”

This year’s Lady Huskie schedule features a five regular-season games at home and seven regular road games, as well as a pair of three-way contests (one home, one away), plus three tournaments and two festivals. District playoffs are scheduled for Sept. 24 followed by the Regional and State Tournaments in early October.

2015 PHS LADY HUSKIES FASTPITCH SOFTBALL SCHEDULE

Monday, Aug. 3 @ Cleveland, 10 a.m. (exhib.)

Tuesday, Aug. 4 — HOME vs. Linc. Chr., 11 a.m. (exhib.)

* Saturday, Aug. 8 — HOME Alumni Game, 6:30 p.m. *

Regular Season

Monday, Aug. 10 — @ Newkirk, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 11 — HOME vs. Dewey, 4 p.m.

Aug. 13-15 — @ Cushing Tournament, tba

Monday, Aug. 17 — @ Caney Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 18 —HOME vs. Tonkawa, 4:30 p.m.

Aug. 20-22 — @ Barnsdall Tournament, tba

Friday, Aug. 21 — @ Kellyville Festival, tba

Monday, Aug. 24 — @ Morris, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 25 — HOME vs. Barnsdall, 4 p.m.

Aug. 27-29 — @ Dewey Tournament, tba

Monday, Aug. 31 — HOME vs. Caney Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 1 — @ Hominy, 4 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 3 — HOME vs. Cleveland, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 4 — @ Bartlesville, 4:30 p.m.

Tues., Sept. 8 — HOME (2) vs. Mannford, Pawnee, 4:30

Monday, Sept. 14 — @ Barnsdall, 4 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 17 — @ Sperry, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 19 — @ Lincoln Christian Festival, tba

Monday, Sept. 21 — @ Pawnee, Cushing (2), tba

Thursday, Sept. 24 — DISTRICTS

Thursday, Oct. 1 — REGIONAL TOURNEY

Thursday, Oct. 8 — STATE TOURNAMENT