SEQUOYAH — A year after Sequoyah narrowly missed an opportunity at the Class 4A state tournament, the Lady Eagles are looking to rebuild.
The pitching duo of Ariel Thompson and Kayleigh Jones that led Sequoyah to a 24-9 record in 2018 is now gone. Both stars are now playing collegiately at the University of North Texas and Oklahoma Baptist University, respectively.
Replacing them in the starting role will be sophomore Sidney Roland.
In her first start against Grove on Monday, Roland struck out five while allowing 10 hits, four unearned runs and 10 walks in a 10-0 loss.
However, 53 of her 91 pitches resulted in strikes, which is a positive sign moving forward.
Despite her early struggles, Lady Eagles coach Brandon Green said he knows she will get better as the year progresses.
“Our pitcher in the circle is young, but she throws it well,” Green said. “As long as she’s throwing strikes and hitting her spot, she can be pretty tough. The thing about softball is if you have someone dominant in that circle, you have a chance at every game. We lost two of those from last year.”
Returning at shortstop is senior Lauryn Anderson, who Green called Sequoyah’s “best all-around player”.
Another returning starter is third baseman Macey McClain, though she must miss the first half of the season with an injury.
In all, Sequoyah is starting three juniors alongside Anderson, and the rest are sophomores and freshmen.
Three of those juniors are three-hole hitter Emily Smith, first baseman Hailee Wallin and five hole/catcher Kennedi Christian.
Uncertainty always surrounds a youthful squad, but Green is optimistic his Lady Eagles will be competitive in most games.
Sequoyah is 1-2 heading into today’s home matchup against Rogers County foe Catoosa at 5 p.m.
The Lady Eagles came up short in an 8-4 11-inning game against Quapaw in the Sequoyah Festival on Tuesday, but they bounced back and defeated Locust Grove, 6-2, in the nightcap.
“As long as we hit well and play solid defense, we’ll have a chance,” Green said. “I’m still waiting to see how we’ll do, to be honest. I don’t know what everyone else has, so I can’t make that comparison as of yet.”