FOYIL — Foyil softball coach has done it all in his 17 years in the quiet little town 10 miles north of Claremore.

Since he started coaching in 2001 at Foyil High School, he has been on the football sidelines, softball, baseball and even basketball.

“It didn’t take me long after three years, they needed to get a real basketball coach,” Webb said.

But now in his third season as the Lady Panthers softball coach, Webb is excited to head the program and get it going in the right direction. Last year was a good start to building something special.

Foyil was district champion in 2017 and finished with an 18-18 record. With that success, he said he’s got players coming out for the team that have never played before. The interest is high.

And expectations are higher this year.

“We were 4-2 in the playoffs,” Webb said. “We’d like to get to that last eight playing. That’s what we want to do. That’s everybody’s goal. Realistically, we want to get back to regionals and take it from there. Right now out goal is Ketchum. And then we get on the bus at go to Chelsea the same day. Our goal right now is Ketchum and then Chelsea.”

The opening-day doubleheader on Aug. 6 marks the start of Webb’s first season without standout softball star Morgan Valliere, who graduated after a remarkable career. She will be hard, if not impossible, to replace.

In the district tournament alone last year, Valliere played in three games, went 11-for-12 with four home runs and 18 RBIs.

“You don’t (replace her),” Webb said. “She’s just too special. But I made a point not to bring last year up. We’ve got last year’s goals in mind and we’re just going to have to work harder to get to those goals. In fact, we’ve got goals to be better than last year, so we’re going to have to work a lot harder, especially when you lose that kind of power in the lineup and her awesome defense. We’ve got people to step up defensively ... it’s just hard to replace that swing.”

Trying to fill those shoes means senior leadership is essential. And Webb will look to those players to fill shoes left by Valliere, first baseman Whitney Williams and second baseman Colby Sutherland.

“We’ve got a good senior class coming back,” he said. “We’ve got Savanna Simmons, Ericka Marang is our catcher, Ruby Cope, and we have a move-in from Adair, Caitlyn Ward. She grew up here and it’s exciting to get her here. She will help a lot.”

Replacing talent is just part of the game.

“They were good leaders and they are all hard to replace,” Webb said. “That’s the thing about high school athletics ... every year you have to say goodbye and it’s hard to do that. Somebody always steps up, that’s the way it is.”

Winning will also help the momentum of Webb’s program. His idea of a successful season is winning more than losing.

“Last year, we were 18-18 and as good as we were, we still didn’t have a winning record,” Webb said. “It would be nice to have a winning record and I think it would be a big deal around here.”

As much as the girls enjoyed last year’s ride into the playoffs, Webb may have enjoyed it more. He is fully invested in the school and this program. And he’s glad to be in Foyil.

“I’m just blessed to be the coach,” Webb said. “God put me here. I’ve been here 17 years, the second stint I’ve had as the softball coach. I can’t think of being anywhere else. I love it here. I’m blessed. I love the girls. It’s fun. It’s a special place. I’ve done what they asked me to do, and finally they asked me what I wanted to do. This is what I want to do.”

2018 Foyil Softball Schedule

August

6 vs. Ketchum 1 p.m.

6 at Chelsea 4:30 p.m.

7 vs. Afton 3:30 p.m

9-11 Nowata Tournament TBA

13 at Colcord 4 p.m.

14 vs. Copan (DH) 4:30 p.m.

16 at Wyandotte 4:30 p.m.

17 vs. Fairland 4:30 p.m.

18 at Fairland 11 a.m.

20 at South Coffeyville 4:30 p.m.

21 at Welch 4 p.m.

23-25 Foyil Tournament TBA

27 vs. South Coffeyville 4:30 p.m.

28 vs. Welch 4:30 p.m.

30 at Prue 4:30p.m.

September

4 at Afton 4 p.m.

6 at Bluejacket 4 p.m.

8 vs. Chelsea (Tentative)

10 at Victory Christian 4:30 p.m.

13 vs. Prue 4:30 p.m.

17 vs. Bluejacket 4 p.m.

18 at Hominy 4:30 p.m.

20 Districts TBA

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