The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

September 14, 2013

NOC Enid softball showing signs of life

ENID, Okla. — Jamie Roberts is seeing the work she’s done over the past nine months coming together in forming Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s first-ever softball team.

All the freshmen recruits arrived as scheduled for fall practice. The team has had five scrimmages and is scheduled to walk in today’s Cherokee Strip parade.

“Now we have a team,’’ Roberts said. “It’s been a hectic three weeks. The first week might have seemed like three. We have been practicing three weeks, but might seem like two months.’’

The Lady Jets had to work out at the Mabee Center the first week of school as the fields at Government Springs were being readied for use during fall practice.

“There was a lot of work to get everything ready,’’ Roberts said.

Roberts, who came to NOC Enid from Purcell High School, has already seen the differences between high school and junior college.

“I don’t think any of them have worked out this hard or this much,’’ Roberts said. “It’s taken a toll on them physically and mentally. With them practicing four hours a day and keeping up with their studies, their bodies are in a little bit of a shock.’’

The Lady Jets have been competitive in the scrimmages. They were 1-1-1 against three teams at Durant Saturday, beating Connors, 9-7; tying Paris, Texas, 7-7 and losing to Eastern 6-5. They split a pair with national power Cowley County on Wednesday, losing the first 3-2 and winning the second 7-6.

While there were umpires, there was free substitution and “a lot of flexibility.’’

“The fall season isn’t about the wins and the losses,’’ Roberts said. “It’s about learning and seeing the areas you need to improve in by February. I’ve been taking a lot of notes and making adjustments as needed.’’

Avery Walker of Marlow has already been a hit for the Lady Jets. She stole six bases, hit a grand slam and had an on-base percentage of .650 Saturday, and was 3-of-6 in the Cowley scrimmages.

“I really don’t know what the key for me has been,’’ Walker said. “I just run. A lot of it is just timing. I think I’ve been adjusting OK.’’

Walker said practices have been “more intense and are a little bit harder.’’

“The fall is a little different, but it’s been fun,’’ she said. “It’s exciting to be a part of a new program.’’

The players appear to have come together well. Roberts has a team bonding activity set for Kaw Lake this weekend.

“Everybody gets along,’’ Walker said. “We all hang out all the time. ‘’

“For the most part, they all want to learn and be here, that’s exciting,’’ Roberts said. “We have a great bunch of young ladies and they have done a great job of getting to know each other.’’

Shyanna Sigman of Tecumseh hit two home runs in last week’s scrimmages. Selika Shive of Binger-Oney also homered.

Roberts, though is a proponent of small ball.

“We worked a lot on our short game,’’ she said. “We laid down some nice bunts and we stole several bases.’’

Breanna Walker of Byng was 2-for-2 against Cowley. Roberts said she was encouraged by the split. Cowley was 53-4 last season and was third in the national tournament.

“To compete against a program like that, says a lot,’’ Roberts said.

The Lady Jets have taken advantage of the school’s indoor baseball facility. They usually warm up there before going to Government Springs.

“This is a great place to warm up and get the sweat on,’’ Roberts said.  “We’re still a little out of shape. They’re still getting their legs underneath them.’’

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.

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