It was a tough season last year for the Ryan High School fast-pitch softball squad.
The 2019 team was 0-19 for the fall season and is looking to improve that mark as the 2020 season kicks off Tuesday at Waurika.
The Cowgirls will stage the home opener one week from today (Thursday) when they will play host to Big Pasture on Larry Ninman Field at the Bob Givens Sports Complex.
Youth will be counted on by third-year coach Stan Mueggenborg as last year’s team featured four seniors. This year’s roster has only three seniors.
But, while the Cowgirls may be short on experience, they will have more talent on the field.
Mueggenborg is looking to start as many as three freshmen, including the likely starting pitcher, Jasmine Villerreal.
“She (Villerreal) has good speed and has a good fast ball and has been working on some off-speed pitches,” Mueggenborg said.
With Villerreal in the circle for the Cowgirls, that leaves a hole at shortstop where Villerreal was slated to play when pre-season practices started a few weeks ago.
Three returning starters – Kodi Duke, Diamond Chazaretta and Linsdsey Reake will be counted on to provide the offensive punch for the Cowgirls.
“Diamond has been hitting the ball well and a lot better than last year,” Mueggenborg said of the Cowgirl senior.
Reake, who returns a first base for the Cowgirls, should provide some power as she will probably hit in the four spot.
“Lindsey has a great attitude and works harder than just about anyone,” Mueggenborg noted.
Emily Harris, a sophomore, will see some playing time in the circle for the Cowgirls and will hopefully provide some offensive punch.
Harris and Reake were cited by Mueggenborg as two of the hardest working girls on the team.
“We are a little more talented and faster than a year ago,” Mueggenborg said. “We have the opportunity to do some things on the base paths that we have not been able to do previously.”
That speed will not only be an asset to the Cowgirls on the base paths, but also in the field.
The Cowgirls will have a bit of depth as Mueggenborg has 13 players currently preparing for the upcoming season.
Kyla Este’Phillips is one senior that will hopefully provide some depth in the outfield when needed.
Carter Combs looks to be the starter behind the plate, while sophomore Libby Carter will probably be holding down the second base position.
“Libby loves playing softball,” Mueggenborg said. “She is here every day and works at it and has gotten better every year.”
Kaitlyn Dabbs, another speedster for the Cowgirls, will be joining Duke and Chazaretta in the outfield.
Alexis Shockley is the other infielder for the Cowgirls and will see action at both shortstop and third base.
Overall the Cowgirls may be better, but with the schedule loaded with teams that return most or all of their players from a year ago, the Cowgirls may find a difficult time finding the win column.
But, as the younger players progress through the early part of the season, Mueggenborg is hopeful the wins will eventually come.“We are going to hustle every chance we get,” said Mueggenborg.
Look for the Cowgirls to be a bit more competitive on the diamond, but without the experience in the circle and teams such as Geronimo, Grandfield and Waurika returning key players from a year ago, it will be tough for the Cowgirls especially early in the season.
Cowgirl Fast-Pitch Softball Schedule
11: at Waurika; 13: Big Pasture; 17: at Wilson; 20, 22: Southern Eight Conference Tournament; 24: at Geronimo; 25: Grandfield.
1: Waurika; 3: Temple; 8: Wilson; 10, 12: Temple Tournament; 14: at Grandfield; 15: Frederick; 17: at Big Pasture; 21: Empire; 24: District Tournament.