Even before classes begin, the high school softball season is getting off to a fast start.

The Claremore Lady Zebras will play host Friday and Saturday to their own seven-team festival.

“The festival is always a good opportunity for the coaches to see what they have,” Claremore coach Tony Winefield says.

Most teams will play three games over the two days.

“This is some pretty stiff competition,” Winefield said. “And we have a lot of kids playing different positions, so it will give us a chance to find where they are best suited.”

The Lady Zebras opened on Tuesday in a home round-robin and won one game, lost one game.

From a 20-15 state tournament team last year, Winefield expected to be in solid shape this season.

He will be looking at three or four pitchers over the next week or so to find an ace to carry his team back to the Class 5A tournament.

“We are pretty excited about the pitchers we have,” Winefield said.

He has sophomores Erin Glover, Brittany Scott and Keeli Garroutte to go along with freshman Whitney Hocutt.

He also has a freshman catcher, Tiffany Chanley.

In an unusual turn of events, the Lady Zebras have lost four catchers since last spring. And none graduated.

Three have moved or transferred, and the fourth quit the team.

Fortunately for Winefield, Chanley has stepped into the breach.

Claremore opens the festival at 11 a.m. Friday against McAlester. The Lady Zebras return at 6 p.m. to face Adair.

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