MHS looks to end state tourney drought

Posted in: Sports
By Todd Brooks
Aug 8, 2013 - 8:42:14 AM

LADY OUTLAWSEverything is set up for the Marlow softball team to have a successful season. It is now up to the Lady Outlaws to determine how successful they will be.
Marlow returns all but one senior from last year, including the top three hitters in Kaytlyn Kizarr, Abbey Warren, and Gigi Wall.
The Lady Outlaws are young with Meagan Bourne the only senior, but they are experienced and feature a strong freshman class coach Brian Miller thinks will be able to contribute this season.
“I told the girls we can have a good season, but our expectations are to go to state,” Miller said. “If we don’t all have that expectation, we are selling ourselves short. We could be a good enough team to do that.”
Miller says it will be hard to replace Avery Walker, an all-state selection who now is taking her talent to go play college softball.
“We have to have some people step up,” Miller said.
It will take a few weeks to set a lineup as he looks for the right fit.
“I’ve been working with the catchers,” the coach said. “If I could find a catcher to replace Kaytlyn that I could trust, I would probably move Kaytlyn to third base and Corrie (Moore) to second. The way it looks, we will be moving people around for the first couple of weeks and then leave them there and go with it.”
Miller said there are some freshmen capable of cracking the line-up.
“They are working hard and have a lot of potential also,” he said.
Miller is entering his 21st year as the head coach. He picked up his 500th win in 2012 and now sits at 515 heading into this season. Marlow finished 27-11 last season.
The Lady Outlaws lost in regional play last year in Washington. The three teams playing in the tournament – Marlow, Lindsay, and Washington – combined for 75 wins on the season.
“Our problem is we don’t have any 3A teams to the west of us,” Miller said. “Most of the 3A teams are in the east, so it’s just us, Lindsay, and Washington. That’s okay, though, we need to beat whoever we play no matter where we play them.”
The last time Marlow made the state tournament was 2007 and the last state championship came in 1997.
This year’s squad has been practicing for several weeks and it just recently wrapped up summer league play.
“I think we are further along than we normally are,” Miller said. “We basically have everyone back and we are a lot further along swinging the bat, knowing the game a little better. It’s hard during the summer to gauge your team’s performance. We will find out real quick next week what kind of team we have when we play against some quality teams at the Tuttle Tournament.”
The Lady Outlaws’ success this season could come down to a couple of key factors.
“I think our success will ride on what our two pitchers (Gigi Wall, Shelby Elroy) can do, and what the bottom part of our line-up does,” Miller said. “That’s the big key. I think we are going to play defense; the top part of the line-up is going to hit the ball; it’s what the bottom part will do. If they pull their share of hits and runs then we are going to be a really good team.”
Wall will more than likely is the ace on the mound, but Elroy can hold her own.
“Shelby has all the potential in the world, and so does Gigi,” Miller said. “I don’t think either one of them has come close to showing us everything they have. I hope they can become this year the type of pitchers I think they can be.”
Miller thinks the duo have thrown well this summer.
“They mostly have been working on control, throwing fastballs and change-ups but starting this Thursday we are going to scrimmage at Frederick, and I’m going to start calling pitches and have more control of the game,” the coach said. “I think when that starts to happen, they will really take off. If they hit their spots, then we are going to be really tough to beat.”
Wall towers over most of her teammates and can be an intimidating presence on the mound.
“If she would explode off the mound, she would be out there past the circle,” Miller said. “I keep telling her she’s got five more miles and hour on her fastball. Hopefully, she will get to that point. She throws hard, but I think she can use her body and throw even harder.
“She’s really starting to use it at the plate and hitting the ball hard.”
Hitting hard is not exclusive to Wall, however, according to the coach who said he has several girls who are hitting the ball hard.
That will bode well for not only this year, but also next year.
“We’ve got a team for the next two years, and a lot of those girls are still just sophomores,” Miller said. “The freshmen can all play, too.”
The time has come for the team to show what they can do on the field.
“I really like this team,” Miller said. “I think they all get along well, and work hard and play together. I want to see them to see success. I want them to know what it is like to play at the state tournament. I think if they can do it this year, it will roll on and maybe we can go for the next few years, and really get another chance to winning another state title.
“That’s what it is about to me. Nobody remembers what last year’s record was. I guarantee you if I asked them what last year’s record was they wouldn’t know we won 27 games. If we would have went to state last year, they would remember that we went to state. That’s what I want.”
Marlow opens the season Tuesday at home against Velma-Alma at 5 p.m.

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