Joey Stengell has a reputation around Altus where softball is concerned.
Just recently, he was the assistant softball coach at Western Oklahoma State College.
He is also the creator and head coach of Velocity Softball Academy, a 14-and-under and 10-and-under traveling softball program.
Velocity is his baby. The program is something he started from scratch, attempting to rejuvenate the fast pitch scene in Altus. He wanted to use it to compliment the school softball programs. To coach players from a young age and develop them into all-state ball players.
Now, not only does he get to coach them at a young age but he will also be the one who coaches them once they reach high school.
Stengell was named the head coach of the high school softball team at the Altus Public School’s Board of Education meeting July 11.
He will be the first true softball coach to head that position in quite some time and he knows exactly what he is doing.
Stengell took his 10-and-under team — a class “C” starter team — and led them all the way to third place in the Texas State Championships.
As for prior experience, Stengell was the commissioner of the Northern Virginia Softball Association and also coached travel ball there.
His knowledge is as extensive as his love for the game and now he takes on the high school program with hopes of having them compete for a state championship every season.
“There’s definitely talent with this team and the energy is amazing,” Stengell said. “The focus and work ethic are great. A lot of these girls have raw talent and my job is to mold it and be patient, but when I get in a huddle right now, it’s just so awesome because these girls are ready.”
On Monday evening, the group got together for a team meeting where Stengell was introduced as the head coach.
There, Stengell laid out his expectations for the team, coaches and parents and how they would all work together to build the program.
What most impressed him was the turnout.
“I set out some chairs and thought surely it’d be enough,” Stengell said. “But we were blown away because it was standing room only in the training room. Just the amount of support from the parents — everyone is really excited.”
Now, his team is running two-a-days and will do so for two and one-half weeks.
They practice for two hours in the morning, just before it gets too hot and later in the day Stengell takes his team to the Velocity indoor facility where the girls can work in the batting cages and work on fundamentals.
As they get closer to Aug. 6, the team will transition to game time situations and put it all together.
Aug. 6, the girls will play their blue and white scrimmage before kicking off the season at Lawton MacArthur on Aug. 9.
The coach is ready, the players are ready and the City of Altus is ready. This is a new era for Altus High School softball and it cannot come soon enough.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.