Racer softball team ready for Bixby Tournament
The Newcastle fast-pitch softball team is now 11-0. The Racers clobbered the Seminole Chieftains, 13-0, last week to bring their record to that point.
Seminole is now 8-9 on the year. They are a part of the district race for Newcastle, which is 5-0 so far in District 4A-4 play. The only other team in Class 4A who is undefeated is Sequoyah-Claremore at 12-0 overall and 7-0 in district play.
It’s been a great year so far for the Racers. But, they have been stymied by the glitches in their schedule. They have seen a few games rained out and rescheduled. That has caused four or five-day breaks between games.
If Newcastle head coach Mike Crossley had any say in Mother Nature’s scheduling, he sure would. But, he doesn’t. So, the veteran of 31 years as the head man at Newcastle keeps a calm nature.
“You can’t control the weather,” Crossley said. “We just continue to play to our best.”
Tuesday’s game at Class 6A Stillwater was rained out. So, the next games on Newcastle’s schedule will be at the 2018 Bixby Spartan Tournament this weekend. It will be a tough road to the title.
“We will play some tough competition at the Bixby Tournament,” Crossley said. “We already have played some tough teams. It will be refreshing to see how we respond.”
Teams in “Pool A” include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Checotah, Inola, Collinsville, Mullen (Colo.), Perry, Sapulpa, and Skiatook. Teams in “Pool B” include Cushing, Tulsa Edison, Edmond, Fort Gibson, Glenpool, Jenks, Mustang junior varsity, Sand Springs, and Newcastle.
Newcastle will play Jenks at 1 p.m. on Friday. Then, they will play Sand Springs at 3 p.m. The Racers will then play Glenpool at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Newcastle will play Fort Gibson at noon.
The Jenks Trojans are Class 6A and are currently 12-5. The Sand Springs Sandites are Class 6A and are 10-4. The Glenpool Warriors are Class 5A and are 2-7. The Fort Gibson Tigers are Class 4A and are 11-3.
Fort Gibson was the state champions in fast pitch in 1989 and 1998. The Tigers also were the 1999 and 2018 slow pitch champs. Sand Springs lost to Choctaw, 4-1, in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A fast pitch tournament in 2017.
The competition at Bixby will be tough. But, Newcastle is one of the toughest teams to beat.
“You know, we have some great players and they are hungry,” Crossley said. “They don’t take anything for advantage.”
Destiny Donahue leads the Racers right now with two home runs, 17 runs batted in, 15 runs scored, and a .567 batting average. Kennedy Cook is next with a .441 average. Shannon Pursell is hitting .440 for the Racers while Maebree Robertson is hitting .389 – including three triples and 15 runs scored.
While hitting is certainly a forte of Newcastle, pitching is where it’s at and the Racers have two great pitchers to hang their caps on – McKenzie Wagoner and Taryn O’Brien.
Wagoner is 9-0 with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched – along with a 0.00 ERA. O’Brien is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA. The pair also hits great. Wagoner is batting .441 with 13 ribbies. O’Brien is hitting .353 with 11 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
“McKenzie is an outstanding pitcher but Taryn is right behind her,” Crossley said. “We have two great pitchers. We have power at the plate although we haven’t shown it as much as we would like to. We’re just going to take the week as it comes and play to the best of our abilities. That’s all you can do. ›
“It’s only going to get harder this week. We’re scheduled to play Jenks, Sand Springs, Glenpool, and Fort Gibson at the Bixby Tournament. It’s going to be a tough week. But, it’s going to be a good week for us, I believe.”