By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Carl Albert’s softball team will have plenty of familiar faces when they open the new season.
The Lady Titans return nearly their entire lineup from last year’s state tournament team including their top pitchers and hitters. That strong core has laid the foundation for what coach Dani Dobbs believes will be a memorable season.
“I think we’re already staring ahead of last year, and the kids are coming out with a lot of excitement and energy,” Dobbs said. “They’re embracing their teammates and things are flowing well.”
Dobbs says her team not only has talent but also leadership and smarts on the diamond.
“Our girls really work together well and have a really high softball IQ,” she said. “That’s helping us play at a high level.”
Leading the way for the Lady Titans will be a handful of seniors with Marissa Frolich, Bella Brown, Kyla Davenport, Taylor Charron and Jocelyn Harjo.
Frolich is the team’s top pitcher from last year. The hard throwing righthander went 18-3 with a 3.50 ERA and 142 strikeouts last year as a junior. Sophomore lefthander Haylee Ringwald and Arianna Harmon will also help in the circle.
“We have good balance with our pitchers,” Dobbs said. “Marissa [Frolich] is coming off a good travel ball season and she can throw hard and accurate. Ariana Harmon pitched some last year and Haylee Ringwald is a lefty who spins it.”
The Titans should be stacked offensively with their top five hitters from last year back in the lineup. Shortstop Ausha Moore led the team in hitting with a .515 batting average and 50 runs scored. Frolich has plenty of power at the plate with six home runs and 48 RBIs while hitting .440 in 2021. Kayla Davis, Kyla Davenport, and Shelby Rusche all batted over .400 last year.
The infield should be about set. Frolich, Harjo and Charron should all see time at first base. Davis, Moore and Ruschewill likely round out the other spots.Sophomore Brenna Choate and freshman Bailey Rusche will handle catching duties.
In the outfield, Carl Albert has Ariana Harmon and Davenport returning. Charon and Brown will also help in the outfield.
The Lady Titans are coming off a successful season that saw them clinch their 13th straight state tournament appearance. The team rebounded after losing much of their lineup from the previous season and experiencing some bumps early in the year. They won a regional title but were eliminated in the first round of state with a 2-1 loss to Pryor.
The team vows to play with more urgency.
“I think last year we thought we’d cruise and didn’t take things too seriously,” Frolich said. “I can already see from our first three practices that it’s going to be a really good year.”
Davis agreed and said their team bonds will help carry them.
“Communication and chemistry are huge things for us,” Davis said. “We have good relationships on and off the field and we try to have fun and not get too stressed.”
Carl Albert is one of the favorites in Class 5A this season. Their biggest challenges will likely come from Pryor, Piedmont, Duncan, Coweta and Guthrie.
The Lady Titans travel to Southeast Aug. 8 for the season opener.