October 3, 2003
Cowley softball team finding its identity
ARKANSAS CITY — With 14 freshmen and six sophomores on its roster, the Cowley County Community College softball team has used the fall schedule as a spring board for the real season that will take place in the spring.
The Lady Tigers have had a very successful fall schedule as they won their first nine games, and head into Saturday’s Pittsburg State University round robin tournament with a record of 14-3.
“I feel winning in the fall carries over to the spring,” coach Ed Hargrove said. “The fall schedule also gives me a chance to evaluate players and determine who will be our key players in the spring. It is also a chance for the players to learn my coaching style.”
Cowley is coming off a season in which it finished 53-10-1 and ended the season ranked fifth in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll. The Lady Tigers also won the Region VI/District E championship for the second time in three years to qualify for the national tournament in Clermont, Fla., where they placed ninth.
This fall, Cowley has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 67-23. The Lady Tigers’ pitchers gave up just seven runs through the first nine games, and have thrown seven shutouts in 17 games.
Sophomores Lindsey Roby and Jessica Milligan bring stability to the pitching staff, while freshmen Rachael Hughes from Topeka, and Michelle Sherrill from Arlington, Texas, look to be solid additions to the squad.
“Pitching has always been one of our strengths and it should continue to be,” Hargrove said. “Our pitchers have thrown the ball extremely well.”
Joining Roby and Milligan as returning players are Adrianne Braddy (catcher), Crystal Clay (second base), Sarah Pritchard (outfield), and Nicole Ringwall (shortstop).
Each player will be key to the team’s success in the spring.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by the way the sophomores have come back,” Hargrove said. “Those sophomores have really stepped up.”
Cowley has won four games in a row as it swept a doubleheader at Southwestern College last Saturday, and then won a pair of games at Coffeyville Community College on Monday.
The Lady Tigers will see some strong competition at the PSU tournament. Cowley will play four games Saturday, beginning with the Bacone College junior varsity at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Tigers will then battle Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at 1 p.m., Bacone College at 4, and Pittsburg State at 5:30.
“We always look to this tournament as a gauge to what kind of progress we have made in the fall,” Hargrove said.
Hargrove, who has the fourth most wins (633) among active NJCAA coaches, has been pleased with the way the fall schedule has played out for the Lady Tigers.
“I knew we would be pretty good, but I did not know we would win this much,” Hargrove said. “We are still very young, so we need to make sure and not get too over confident heading into the spring season.