“The future looks very bright for Muskogee softball.”
The words of head coach Mark Dicus only begin to explain the high expectations for the Roughers this fall as Muskogee returns all but one starter from 2021.
“We’ve got the nine kids back in the lineup who were all underclassmen plus we’ve added another talented group of freshmen that know how to play the game and what’s required to win at this level,” said Dicus.
The only vacancy in the starting lineup will be at catcher.
“We’re replacing an All-State catcher (Karson York) but we’ve got three players that are in the mix to give us a foundation for the middle defense.
Mackenzie Robbins (Jr.), Lariah Stewart (Fr.) and Terrah Williams (Fr.) provide depth behind the plate managing the game while Jaliyah Simmons (Jr.) returns to the circle.
“She our number-1 on the bump,” Dicus nodded. “Jaliyah is one of the most talented players who can play any position and swings a big bat. She’s a leader on and off the field.”
Dicus included sophomore Peyton Jackson as another pitcher who also has game time while playing in the outfield.
Adding to the defensive strength up the middle will be sophomores Jaye Barnoski (SS) and Shay Grissom (2B).
“Jaye is the leader type that lets her actions do all her talking and Shay gives her all in the field as well as at the plate to solidify the middle of the field.
The Roughers lone senior Feather Johnson (CF) who also compiled a .361 batting average and .515 on-base percentage completes Dicus’ attention to the “up the middle insurance”.
“When you can solidify the middle, things are supposed to be well for you. I feel like we’re secure there.”
Muskogee has another prime-time performer, Kye Carter (RF, So.) that also drew smiles from her coach.
“Kye is an athlete that gets better every day in games and practice. She not only starts a rally with the bat but also makes plays in the outfield,” commented Dicus who enters his second year in the Muskogee dugout and 43rd season coaching.
Muskogee’s depth in numbers plus talent includes Kambri Johnson (1B, Jr.) who averaged .486 at the plate including 22 doubles, who will join forces with Shelby Morris (OF, Jr.), Madison Phillips (1B, So.), Reagan Rodriguez (OF, So.), Madison Cunningham (OF, Fr.), Trinity Brewer (OF, Fr.) and Zarrya Gordon (OF, So.).
Muskogee’s schedule against perennial state tournament programs definitely will test the mettle of the Roughers.
“There’s no place to hide but I believe we’re up to the task,” smiled Dicus. “You can see the confidence of these kids every time they step on the field. The experience of playing together along with their talent level plus the depth of our roster gives us a high level of expectation this year.”