Its no secret the Newcastle Racer Fastpitch team are the Oklahoma State Champions in their district, but Friday night, January 16, 2015 between games at basketball homecoming, the girls were officially presented their - very large - Championship Rings.
(Pictured back row from left) Amber Kammerlocher, Karmyn Pearn, Emily Kelly, Alyssa Housley, Kindle Nelms, Allyson LeClaire, Mikaela Workman, Abby Sanner and Aruora Scott.
(Front from left) Sarah Miner, Emily Fertic, Lainee Grider, Rhylee Vandiver, Emily Cerny and Koby Crossley. (Not pictured: Molly Crosswhite)
By Max Terrell
For The Newcastle Pacer
Mike Crossley has spent three decades coaching at Newcastle High school with almost all of that time spent as the head coach of the softball program.
Crossley has had one of the most memorable years coaching the Newcastle Lady Racers - winning his first state title and acquiring numerous personal awards during the span of 2014.
Crossley’s most important accolade to date may be the award he will be receiving on January 14 the Michele Smith Award. The annual award, which is named after Olympic pitcher and former Oklahoma State athlete Michele Smith, is presented to coaches and players who not only show great ability on the field, but also show character and leadership off the field.
“I am excited and proud to be presented the award,” Crossley said. “I have tried to do the best I can for the girls I coach. It is a lot of hard work, and you never expect to win an award like this.”
Crossley is the type of coach who not only wants to win but also wants to instill proper values and success to his athletes, which is one of the qualities the award committee looks for when selecting a winner.
“I did not become a coach just to win a state title,” he said. “I would like to think we all become coaches to help teach young players and help mold them. To watch them succeed means a lot to me as a coach. Not every player gets to go to the next level and play in college. I try to give them a sense of pride while they play here. I want them to remember and love their time playing.”
Crossley played baseball at Del City High School and was an All-State player in 1979. After he graduated, Crossley went on to play college baseball at Rose State and then Oklahoma City University.
After college, Crossley received a job as an assistant coach and three years later Crossley became the head coach for the Racers. Crossley has spent 30 years at Newcastle, which is an extensive amount of time for any head coach, and he has enjoyed every year.
“It is a community here in Newcastle,” he said. “The parents have let me coach and have stood behind me the entire time. The people here love their kids and support all of the teams here. In the 30 years I have coached here, there has never been a moment where I would want to leave.”
Not only has Crossley found success for himself and his teams, there have been several players who have had their own personal success by going on to play college softball. Multiple players have come from the Racer’s softball program to play at Tulsa, Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Oklahoma, and some have even made a career coaching in college.
One of Crossley’s players, Jadyn Smith-Wallis went on to play at the University of Oklahoma and then became the head coach of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Another player, Alisa Tasler, also played in college attending Northern Oklahoma College; she became the head coach for Concord University.
Crossley has enjoyed watching his players succeed and the incredible year the Racers softball team has had, but through everything he credits his wife, Vickie Crossley, for standing by him.
“[We celebrate] 33 years on January 9,” he said. “Coaching is a hard job, and you are on the road a lot. My wife has allowed me to put in the hours it takes to be successful as a coach.”
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers' Fastpitch team took home the State title from Shawnee last Saturday in a 7-1 defeat of Fort Gibson.
"We played really well in September. We were 22-3 over the last 25 games," head coach Mike Crossley said.
The Lady Racers advanced out of district play easily by beating Classen at home. In Regional play, Newcastle handed Anadarko a 7-1 defeat in the first round. In the second round, Elk City posed more of a threat for the Lady Racers, but Newcastle pulled out a win by scoring two runs in the last inning. In the finals of regionals, Newcastle beat Blanchard the first game 12-2 but struggled in the second game eventually coming up with a win after scoring two in the last inning to advance to state.
"You can throw out all the records and rankings when you play Blanchard, because they are going to come at you hard," Crossley said. "It [being down 4-3 in the fifth inning] was kind of a blessing in disguise, because we had been preaching all year that both good and bad things are going to happen; you just have to stay tough and fight through it. It is a game of failure, so that helped us going into the state tournament."
In the first round of the state tournament, Newcastle played No. 3 ranked Tecumseh and defeated them 9-3.
"We swung the bat well against a really good pitcher," he said "because Emily (pitcher Emily Cerny) was a little beat up. She threw 21 innings on Tuesday, so the first two days of the tournament you could tell she was sore."
In the second round of the state tournament, the Lady Racers were set to face off against Hilldale who was the returning State Champions and graduated no seniors last year. With Cerny hurting and sore, ice baths and massages were given to Cerny to try and loosen her up.
"She slowly started to loosen up in the Hilldale game and was able to pull out the 5-4 win," he said. "It was an awfully big win."
The win propelled Newcastle into the state finals and into defeating Fort Gibson 3-0 for the State Title.
"We had a great state tournament, we really played well."
Mike Crossley commented that it was ironic they defeated Fort Gibson in his first state championship title because they are the team Newcastle lost to in his first state title game back in 1989.
"This really solidified our program, because we have been to state 22 times, and it was always 'you never won state,'" Crossley said. "Other people may have only gone to state two times over the last 27 years and may have won it. It was like yes you were good that one-year, but we have been good year after year after year. Winning the State Championship solidified our program. There are not a lot of teams in the state that can say they have been to state 22 times out of the last 27 years."
By Cody Johnson
The Lady Racers rolled through their opponent Classen School of Advanced Studies last Thursday in the District playoffs. With Abby Sanners on the mound and Molly Crosswhite behind the plate, Newcastle ended the doubleheader 16-0 and 15-0 in the third inning both games. Emily Cerny sat out these games.
"I don't want to take any chances of injury," head coach Mike Crossley said.
Another change up in the starting lineup was Aurora Scott defending first base for the Lady Racers.
Sanners went to work immediately in the top of the first inning with three strikeouts in a row. The Lady Racers huddled together after running of the field and chanted "1...2...3... shake and bake!" before starting their batting lineup.
Kobi Crossley started the bottom of the first with a bunt to get her to first. The next batter bunted a ball that resulted in an out but pushed Kobi to second. After two batters were hit with the ball on the pitch, the bases were loaded. Kindle Nelms then hit a single, which propelled Kobi into home, scoring the first run of the night.
That was followed by a ground ball by Karmyn Pearn that barely missed the second baseman and sent four more runners through home base. Five more runs scored by the Lady Racers before the end of the first inning followed.
Three more outs by Sanners, two of which were strikeouts, opened the top of the second inning. In the bottom of the second inning, Newcastle continued to score six more runs to close out the bottom of the second.
After a single strikeout, an out trying to steal second, and an out at first by Classen in the top of the third the game was called at 16-0. The second game of the double header was an identical blowout that ended with the Lady Racers ahead 15-0 and moving forward out of district play. The Lady Racers will host a regional tournament this Thursday.
Other teams that will be present are Anadarko, Elk City and Blanchard. The Lady Racers are set to play Anadarko first round at noon. Adults and Students are $5 for admission because it is a play off game.
"It will be tough," head coach Mike Crossley said, "but we are excited to host. We have beat them all before, but they were all tough games."
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers celebrated their one graduating senior, Kobi Crossley, Monday night before beating Anadarko 5-1.
"It's definitely hard [being the only senior] but also good at the same time. I love spending time with my team," senior Kobi Crossley said. "I did have to step up into the leadership role, but I also have a lot of help. They all step up and take the leadership role, it's not just me."
Not only is Kobi the only senior, she scored the first run of the night for Newcastle in the first inning off of a single by Mikaela Workman while the bases were loaded.
"After I graduate, I am going to play ball at USAO and major in psychology. They recruited me for third baseman but said that I wouldn't only be playing that position," Kobi said. "I am just happy for my team. I love them. And a big shout out to my uncle, coach Crossley, he's the best!"
Leading the team on the mound, sophomore Emily Cerny took the Lady Racers through three innings with Anadarko batters unable to connect with a single ball she threw. By the time they could, Newcastle was ahead 2-0 going into the fourth inning but Anadarko was still unable to score.
Anadarko mounted a comeback in the top of the fifth inning with three singles that pushed a runner home and put them on the scoreboard. The Lady Racers however ended the inning with a forced out at home base the very next play.
The bottom of the fifth opened with Kindle Nelms hitting one to the fence and making it to second. Nelms making it home off Karmyn Pearn's double followed that play.
The Lady Racers then racked up some more runs in the sixth inning off of stolen bases and ground balls to pull ahead 5-1. They closed out the seventh with two strikeouts by Cerny and a caught fly to left field by Amber Kammerlocher.
"Overall, I was pleased with tonight. It was good for us to play in front of a big crowd, because there is a good chance we will host a regional and Newcastle fans love their fastpitch. They support us well," head coach Mike Crossley said.
Last week the Lady Racers beat the number seven ranked Cache Bulldogs, which propelled them into the top eight teams. Playoffs will begin Thursday at home versus Classen, a fairly new school to fastpitch. In the district playoffs, the two teams out of each district play the best two out of three. Thursday night will be a double header and a time on Friday is not yet determined because it might not be necessary.
By Cody Johnson
Newcastle Fastpitch took out the No. 4 ranked Blanchard Lady Lions last Thursday in a game that went two extra innings.
It seemed like no one could score. Each team would get runners on base but no one could hit them home before three outs were made.
"We should have won it early. We threatened three times and then came the big hit. We had runners at second and first. I thought the ball went further, called her on to third base and she gets thrown out," head coach Mike Crossley said.
Then in the bottom of the eighth inning, with a runner on third, Karmyn Pearn hits one to the fence to win the game for the Lady Racers.
Emily Cerny has been on fire on the mound this season. In one stint she struck out 57 batters in 4 games.
The Lady Racers then traveled to Jones for a tournament over the weekend. At the Jones tournament Newcastle played the 5A school Bishop McGuinness and walked away with a 4-3 win last Friday.
Next up the Lady Racers squared off against Luther. Yet again Newcastle walked away with another victory, 4-1.
Newcastle has been winning but actually dropped in the rankings from the No. 14 spot to the No. 15 spot despite already having shut out four teams this season that are currently ranked ahead of them.
When you step up to the plate, it does not matter what the rankings say. You better be ready to play.
The Junior High Lady Racers are out to a blazing start this season. Thus far the Lady Racers have compiled 12 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie. The Junior High Racers started practicing at the beginning of July in anticipation for a good season. Under newly named Head Coach Chance Scott and new assistant Casey Carolan the Lady Racers prepared for the upcoming season. The Racers have 23 players on the roster including six returning starters from last years team.
In the first outing of the year, the Lady Racers played in the Irving Festival in Norman, where they defeated Noble, Whittier, and Irving. They also had a tie with Longfellow. The following Monday the Lady Racers suffered their first loss of the young season at the hands of the Tuttle Lady Tigers. The next day the team traveled to Purcell to play a very tough game, but were victorious in their efforts. " This was one of the most exciting games I have been involved in, in my 15 years of coaching," said Head Coach Chance Scott. With their spirits still riding high the Lady Racers next challenge would be the Lady Lions from Blanchard. The Lions tried to rally late in the game but the Racers were able to hold on for the win.
The next challenge for the Lady Racers would be the Tuttle Tournament. The Racers took out the OKC Lady Broncos in the first round. Then in the second round the Racers had to go extra innings to beat Mustang North. In the third round the Lady Bobcats were next on the bracket. The Lady Racers emerged victorious once again. Then in the semifinals Newcastle lost to South Moore. In the third place game the Lady Racers bounced back and beat a very tough Dale squad.
The following week the JH Racers traveled to Lexington where they collected yet a another win. Then continuing the hot streak they took wins over Bridge Creek and Lindsay later in the week.
Three ladies share time in the circle for the Racers, Brianna Jackson, Taryn O’Brien, and Mackenzie Wagoner. "It's a rare and fun time when you can have three pitchers in Junior High that you can in the circle and know you can compete with anyone." stated Coach Scott.
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers fastpitch team went 2-0 last Thursday and Friday as they traveled down to Lindsay for the Lindsay Festival.
Newcastle began the festival by playing Ninnekah at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday. They rolled through the Ninnekah Owls 17-0.
The next game of the day came at 1:15 p.m. when the Lady Racers faced off against the Lindsay Leopards. Newcastle blew away the Leopards in that face off 6-0.
When the Lady Racers returned on Friday the rains came with them. Their Friday game of the Lindsay festival was canceled leaving them with a 2-0 record.
The Lady Racers will travel next weekend to Bixby for an all-day Thursday, Friday and Saturday tournament.
The Newcastle Lady Racers fastpitch team took on ninth-ranked Mount Saint Mary Monday defeating them 1- 0 in the eighth inning.
A walk off double by Kindle Nelms hit Lainee Grider into home to win in the second extra inning. Cerny only allowed three hits the entire game and struck out 17.
This win along with two wins from last Saturday bumped the Lady Racers up in the state rankings from 20 to 11.
The Lady Racers traveled to Shawnee last Saturday for the Hall of Fame Shootout and did not take any mercy on their opponents.
"Emily is getting better and better, she struck out 27 Saturday," Head Coach Mike Crossley said.
Led on the mound by Emily Cerny, Newcastle took down Elk City 1-0 and one of the top ranked teams in 5A, Claremore 5-0.
Next the Lady Racers will travel to Lindsay Thursday for a two-game lineup with the Ninnekah Owls at 11:15 a.m. and the Lindsay Leopards at 1:45 p.m.
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Varsity Lady Racer's Fast-pitch team lost their first head-to-head game of the 2014 season 0-8 on Monday at home against the Tuttle Tigers.
With E. Cerny on the mound pitching the entire game, the Lady Racers looked strong on the field, but a couple two-run innings and one four-run inning left the Lady Racers behind in the fifth inning 8-0 with a run-rule finish.
In the top of the first inning, Tuttle's first batter struck out by Cerny's pitches. The second Tiger up to bat scored a triple, which was followed up by an in the park homerun.
Unshaken by the two scored runs, Cerny struck another batter out to put an end to the Tigers early lead.
With the Racers up to bat in the bottom of the first, they didn't waste anytime getting on base. Crossley bunted her way on first but was forced out at second base when Vandiver bunted her way onto first. With two balls hit from Cerny and Workman to the outfield that were caught by Tigers, the Lady Racers ended the first inning 0-2.
In the second inning, Newcastle held off Tuttle but was unable to hit any runner home.
The third inning was when the Tigers pulled away. A single by the third Tiger batter hit two runners home and was followed by a stolen second base. A double and a single hit two more runners home before the Lady Racers were able to mount a defense, which obtained the final two outs via strikeout.
Bottom of the third, the Lady Racers' first three batters hit a good piece of the ball but were either caught or forced out at first base.
In the fourth inning the Tigers hit two more runners home. Trying to stage a comeback, Newcastle spent the next two innings smacking the ball, but the Tigers managed to hold off the assault, which left the Lady Racers run-ruled 0-8 at the end of the fifth inning.
With a storm blowing in, the junior varsity Fast Pitch game, set for immediately following the varsity game, was cancelled. The Lady Racers return to action Thursday against the Purcell Lady Dragons at 5:30 p.m. in Newcastle.