CASC softball team ready to begin season, but NE Texas Tournament canceled

The 2012 softball season was to begin for the Carl Albert State College Lady Vikings in this weekend's Northeast Texas Tournament in Longview, Texas. However, the Lady Vikings, who were 21-33 last season, found out this morning that the event was canceled, and will likely not be rescheduled.Still, Carl Albert Softball Coach David Holt is anxious for the season to begin.“We've been really working hard,” Holt said. “I really feel the girls we have hear really want to work hard. They're a quality bunch. We're just anxious to go play because we're tired of practicing. At least, we'll have an idea of what we need to work on in the early part of the season.”The Lady Vikings will be young this season, as the 17-player roster has only six sophomores — of which four are returning starters. Back this season are catcher Katie Odom, a former Poteau Lady Pirate, along with pitcher Holly Mock (from Drumright), catching Morgan Deerinwater (McAlester, who was injured for most of last season) and center fielder Kaela Potts (Clayton).Two other sophomore out are infielder/pitcher Jessika Nolen (Keota) and infielder/pitcher Kera Smith (Gore).“I think we have a good mix of players, but we are awfully young,” Holt said. “We have our pitcher back from last year, Holly Mock. We expect her to have a really good year. I think things are looking bright for us. We have a lot of experience coming back who have 50 games under their belts from last year. They know what to expect, they've seen it all before and they know what it takes. We have a couple of new sophomores. Kessika Nolen (Keota) took off a year, and Kera Smith (Gore) who graduated in 2009 and went to Rose State. But Kera is at Carl Albert now, and has one more year of eligibility.”As for the 11 freshmen, three hail from LeFlore County — Poteau's Katie Pierce, Talihina's Hali Humphreys and Whitesboro's Kelsey Branscum. If Holt has his way, the LeFlore County players wearing CASC uniforms will only keep coming.“We're trying to do our best to get the best LeFlore County kids in here,” he said. “I think the coaches in the county do a great job of teaching fundamentals, and get the kids ready to play at a high level. Panama won the (Class 2A) state title last fall. We have a lot of good LeFlore County softball teams, and I look forward to getting those kids here because I know they'll work hard.”The rest of the freshmen are Macey Carman (Warner), Chelsea Space (Wellston), Courtney Wren (Checotah), Talia Lattimore (Sallisaw), Alli Eales (McAlester), Keyana Williams (Fort Smith, Ark.), Da'Kayla Clayton (Fort Smith) and Jessicah Moudy (Greenwood, Ark.).Holt also has a new assistant coach, former Lawton MacArthur Lady Highlander and Cameron Lady Aggie Megan Young.“She's a great asset to our college and our softball program,” he said.There will be something new this season for the Lady Vikings — their own festival. The Carl Albert Festival will be Feb. 18-19 at the Poteau Area Recreational Complex.“We're hoping we get a lot of people to come out to the PARC and watch this tournament,” Holt said. “We have schools from Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. There's going to be some pretty good softball Feb. 18-19. The city (of Poteau) is really getting behind this. (CASC Athletic Director) Mike St. John and (Poteau's) mayor (Jeff Shockley) have really worked hard on putting this thing together. (PARC Director) Billy Bond has done a lot of work in trying to help get this organized so that it all comes together for us.”As for Region II, while the Lady Vikings aren't picked to win it, they will definitely be in the mix.“Our region is always very tough,” Holt said. “We have perennial powers Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Seminole State. NEO won it last year, and they're favored to win it this year. Seminole always has a very strong program. Western has become a pretty good team under their new coach (former Murray State College baseball coach Mike McBrayer), and they've been recruiting a lot of kids — especially hitters. He's been doing a very good job getting hitters in there. I'm really confident that our group are among the top 6 (in Region II) — maybe even the top 4.”ScheduleDate Team/Tournament Place TimeFeb. 3 Angelina, Texas-x Longview, Texas 2 p.m.Feb. 3 N. Central Texas-x Longview, Texas 4 p.m.Feb. 4 Lamar State, Texas-x Longview, Texas 9 a.m.Feb. 4 Ranger, Texas-x Longview, Texas 2 p.m.Feb. 7 Paris, Texas, DH Paris, Texas 2 p.m.Feb. 16 Crowder, Mo., DH Poteau 2 p.m.Feb. 18-19 CASC Festival at PARC TBA.Feb. 21 Independence, DH Independence, Kan. 2 p.m.Feb. 24-25 Murray St. Festival Tishomingo TBA.Feb. 28 Crowder, Mo., DH Neosho, Mo. 2 p.m.Feb. 29 Arkansas Baptist, DH Poteau 2 p.m.March 1 Seminole State, DH Poteau 2 p.m.March 3 NOC-Tonkawa, DH Tonkawa 2 p.m.March 6 Rose State, DH Poteau 2 p.m.March 7 Western, DH Poteau 1 p.m.March 12 NE Texas, DH Poteau 2 p.m.March 13 Arkansas Baptist Little Rock, Ark. 1 p.m.March 15 NEO, DH Poteau 2 p.m.March 17-18 Carthage Bash Carthage, Mo. TBA.March 27 Connors State, DH Warner 2 p.m.March 29 Seminole State, DH Seminole 2 p.m.March 31 Arkansas Baptist at Little Rock, Ark. 1 p.m.April 2 Northeast Texas, DH Poteau 2 p.m.April 3 Eastern, DH Poteau 2 p.m.April 5 NOC-Tonkawa, DH Poteau 2 p.m.April 10 Western, DH Altus 2 p.m.April 12 NEO, DH Miami 2 p.m.April 14 Rose State, DH Midwest City 2 p.m.April 17 NE Texas, DH Mt. Pleasant, Texas 2 p.m.April 19 Eastern, DH Wilburton 2 p.m.April 21 Connors State, DH Poteau 2 p.m.May 4-6 Region II Series Oklahoma City TBA.May 17-19 World Series St. George, Utah TBA.x — At Northeast Texas Tournament.