In the 2011 fast-pitch softball season, the Poteau Lady Pirates were the host team for a Class 4A Regional Tournament. They ended up losing in the championship round to see their season end. For almost a year, that feeling has not been forgotten by the Lady Pirates.
“It gave us drive and want-to to not have it end like it did last year,” senior right fielder Gabba Wilson said. “We had run ruled them, then they beat us (in the regional title game) and that upset us. We're determined that it's not going to happen this year.”
This current senior class has amassed 107 wins, four LeFlore County Fast-Pitch Tournament titles and four district titles.
“I was hoping that we'd have that kind of success in the County Tournament, but I never thought we'd be a part of 107 wins,” senior third baseman/pitcher Brenna Vise said. “We've all be playing together forever. It just feels that (the success over the last four years) was to be that way. I'm proud of everybody.”
The Lady Pirates have been to slow-pitch state in May 2010 and May 2011, but two Lady Pirate seniors — Wilson and second baseman Alayna Holdsworth — were not a part of that since they were playing soccer for the Lady Pirates. Holdsworth is excited with the chance of a trip to next week's Class 4A State Tournament.
“It would be a one-in-a-million lifetime experience,” Holdsworth said. “I'd love it and be excited. It would be amazing. I've been playing like every day is going to be my last. I'm leaving it all on the field, and having a lot more fun.”
“I'd be extremely excited,.” Wilson said. “I've never been, while some of them have played (at slow-pitch state), and have been under the pressure. It would be a first-time experience for me, and a chance to being able to win it. That's heavy on our shoulders, and we want to do good. We've just got to take it one game at a time. Hopefully, we'll win regionals, and get one step closer to a state championship.”
On the other hand, for the senior Lady Pirates, their fast-pitch careers are winding down.
“I'm nervous,” senior center fielder Shelby Standridge said. “I don't want it to be over, for one thing.”
The Lady Pirates have a good feeling about this year's Class 4A Regional Tournament, which will begin Thursday at Hilldale High School in Muskogee.
“I think we have a great shot,” senior first baseman Kaylee Kingrey said. “We have to play to our potential, but we can definitely get to state.”