The battle was set to begin Saturday evening, but the anticipation had been building for quite some time.
The field was dragged and freshly striped and awaited the arrival of the two squads who were scheduled to do battle on its dirt.
Friends, family and excited locals flocked to the stands, anxious to see what these girls were made of and to see which ones would emerge victorious in this ultimate battle of skill and toughness.
Of course, it was never that black and white, but it is blue and white.
The Altus Lady Bulldogs softball program held its blue and white showcase on field number two at the Missile Park baseball fields 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday in front of a crowd of locals excited to see what new Head Coach Joey Stengell can do for this program.
Stengell on the other hand was impressed with amount of support shown to his team.
“It was awesome — we had a huge crowd — just a lot of support,” Stengell said. “I don’t think there was an empty seat in the bleachers, which is amazing. We ended up with a really competitive game. Blue won 15-13 and every girl got to play. It was just a good time, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement and a lot of good softball. It turned out pretty much exactly how I envisioned it.”
The showcase was each player’s final opportunity to show why she deserves one of the coveted spots on the Lady Bulldogs varsity squad and each player certainly came prepared to leave it all out on the field.
“I’m pretty squared away now. That’s the beauty of it. I had two really good teams out there and now I’ve got a pretty good core group that I’m going to take to MacArthur today and see how they do,” Stengell said. “It’s going to take some time for them to get the chemistry going and I’ve got some girls who are probably playing in positions that maybe they haven’t played before, but I kinda have an idea of what skill set I’m looking for and if they have that skill set, I’m going to let them play that position to help the team.”
Stengell knows there is still work to be done, but he gets excited anytime he has an opportunity to speak about these girls and truly believes if they do what is necessary in practice, they will be unstoppable in games.
“I’m pretty excited about the way we hit the ball. We definitely can hit the ball. I think we’re going to be able to score runs and that’s pretty exciting,” Stengell said. “The pitchers did a really nice job of not walking anybody. They made the batters work for everything they got. So that’s two things I took away from it — the bats were reliable and good control from the pitchers.”
Stengell has one junior pitcher and three freshmen, but is confident with what he has seen from his freshmen that over the next couple of years he will have three really strong pitchers.
The first game of the season is 5 p.m. tonight at Lawton MacArthur and Stengell says this will be the first big test.
“Mac is one of the more solid teams in the district so we’ll know right away where we’re at against a good team,” Stengell said. “They had a winning record last year and they have some really good players and their coach has been there for a couple of years, so they’ve got everything in place and I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up to one of the better teams in the district.”
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.