Coach Aaron Mullens and the Durant Lady Lions are looking to fast-pitch their way into state’s softball elite this fall.
It all starts with a pair of home games this week: Tuesday against Dickson at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday a double header against district rival Collinsville at 1 p.m.
There are five returning seniors from the 2011 team: Pitcher Kailyn Ward, seniors Kenzi Clapp, Colby Holder, Katheryn Prentice and Kailyn Ward. Also, the Lady Lions have, one junior, four sophomores and seven freshmen. They will look to build on last year’s successful 23-19 season.
“We’re a little bit younger this year,” Mullens said. “Last year we had three seniors, and all three will play college ball. Two will play basketball and one softball. So we lost our 3-4-5 hitters last year, we lost some power in my middle hitters.
“But what we lost in power, we’re gaining in speed,” he said. “So we’re younger, but a little more versatile this year.”
The Lady Lions have been practicing for two months to prepare for the highly competitive fast-pitch season, which includes some powerful district opponents.
“We started June 4, we’d lift weights in the mornings and play in the evenings,” Mullens said. “We played close to 25-30 ballgames this summer so far. These are hard, hard workers. You can’t ask for anything more. They’re good for every game, and we’re going to have some good senior leaders.”
This week’s opponents will be a good test of how the rest of the season will shape up, according to Mullens.
“Dickson is very good. They’ve got a freshman at shortstop who is very good,” he said. “They got their pitcher back from last year as well, so they are going to be tough. They will be a powerhouse.
“Collinsville is our second game, but it’s an important game because it is in district,” he said. “It will be a dogfight. We’re ready for it, the girls have been preparing for it since May. It’s all about district play now, it’s changed from years past.”
The seven teams in Durant’s district includes the Lady Lions, Collinsville, McAlester, Booker T. Washington, Bishop Kelley, Coweta, and Tulsa Nathan Hale.
“As far as this year, we need to get a one or two in district, because the other district has Grove and Tahlequah,” Mullens said. “If you finish number one or two in your district, you host the regional site no matter what. Even though we are in the southeastern part of the state, we will host if we finish one or two.”
First up: Dickson comes to town for a 4:30 p.m. Tuesday game at the Durant Multi-Sports Complex.
Your Lady Durant Lions 2012 Softball Roster
Kenzi Clapp – Senior – OF
Kailyn Ward – Senior - P
Colby Holder – Senior - INF
Katheryn Prentice – Senior - INF
Lauren Vela – Senior - OF
Morrison Lambert –Junior - OF
Katie Caraway –Sophomore- INF
Kylie Manning –Sophomore - INF/OF/P
Alexa Richards –Sophomore- Catcher/INF
Ashley Davis – Sophomore - OF
Riley Andis –Freshman - OF
Macy Powell – Freshman - OF/P
Jillian Hernandez – Freshman - OF
Emily Acuna – Freshman - INF/OF
Logan Hime – Freshman - INF/OF
Megan Aplin – Freshman - INF
Alexis Mendez – Freshman – OF
Head Coach – Aaron Mullens
Asst. Coach - Cody Little