Babblin' Brooks - Seasons approaching

Posted in: Sports
By Todd Brooks
Jul 31, 2014 - 8:52:10 AM

The weather may still be hot, but with July winding down, it means softball, cross-country, and football seasons are quickly approaching.
Monday, the Lady Outlaws will have their final pre-season games, while football teams will begin two-a-days in a couple of weeks.
Marlow softball should be ranked in the top three in Class 3A when the polls come out in a few weeks. If they are not, it will be a huge surprise.
Expectations should be high for the Lady Outlaws. They return eight of nine starters from last year’s state semifinal team. They feature two college commitments in shortstop Abbey Warren (Cameron) and pitcher Gigi Wall (Oklahoma City University).
Marlow should have the drive following last year’s disappointing loss in the semifinals, and anything short of a state championship may not be a successful season by their standards.
“I want to win a state championship,” Wall said recently. “I want a ring. I want to win every game this year.”
Warren has missed all the preseason with a knee injury, but she says she expects to be back in August.
Wall will get most of the starts on the mound, but the Lady Outlaws do have depth at pitching. Shelby Elroy, Megan Fitzhugh, and Warren all have experience in the circle.
The Lady Outlaws open the season before school starts. They begin at Plainview on Aug. 11 before hosting Sulphur on Aug. 12. Both games start at 5 p.m.
Marlow cross-country begins its season on Aug. 28 at home in the Marlow Invitational. It will be the only home meet this season, but the teams will run twice at nearby Velma-Alma. The first time will be Sept. 30 and the next will be at the regional meet on Oct. 18.
The Outlaws and Lady Outlaws have fielded strong teams in the past, and this year should be no different. The boys and girls have their top runners returning from 2013.
Nathan Crowson will pace the boys and Rylee Rich the girls.
The Marlow football team is expected to do well also.
In the Vype magazine Oklahoma Pigskin Preview, the Outlaws are favored to win their new district – the District 3A-4.
Interestingly, the three of the four non-district teams last year – Lone Grove, Comanche, and Sulphur – are all district games this year. Marlow won all three games last year.
Marlow is ranked No. 12 overall in Class 3A.
Nick Yates is on the All-Vype Class 3A Preseason Team as an athlete.
Defending state champion Kingfisher is off the non-district schedule this year. Marlow possibly gave the Yellowjackets their toughest game of the regular season last year.
Kingfisher is ranked No. 1 in the preseason by the magazine.
Replacing them, however, will be old district foe Blanchard, who is ranked No. 4 in the preseason.
Marlow’s three non-district games to start out the season will be at Bethany (Sept. 5), at Elgin (Sept. 12), and the home opener against Washington (Sept. 19).
Lone Grove is predicted to finish second to Marlow in the district followed by Plainview, Sulphur, Madill, Dickson, and Comanche.
Plainview made it all the way to the semifinals last season, but was hit hard by graduation in 2013.
Even though they have advanced to the playoffs the last two years, the Outlaws are looking to host a playoff game after securing the No. 4 seeds the past two seasons.
One of the things Marlow needs to start doing is winning games were they are underdogs. Marlow has won most of the games it should have the past two years with one or two exceptions, but they do not have the big signature win.
Marlow opens with three tough, but winnable games. Bethany went 7-4 last year, but is not expected to make the playoffs out of District 3A-2. Elgin’s prediction to finish fifth is a bit misleading. The top three teams – Anadarko, Clinton, and Woodward – are ranked first, second, and sixth respectively. Newcastle, predicted to finish fourth, is ranked No. 17. Elgin is ranked No. 19 despite being rated fifth in the district.
What makes the first two games even more difficult is they are road games.
Washington may be Class 2A, but look to be a solid club. They are ranked No. 2 in District 2A-3 in the preseason, and No. 11 overall.