You might say that Connors State softball player Jewell Caudle marches to the beat of a different drum. Take for example her early years in her chosen sport.
“I started out playing T-ball, but I remember getting in trouble for wearing my cap backwards,” said the Texas native. “When I was young, I was playing baseball with the boys, but it was at a time and place when girls were expected to stay in their own lane and some of the parents objected so that’s when I got into softball, and I found I really liked it.”
Jewell started playing travel ball shortly thereafter where she made some Oklahoma connections.
“I knew I wanted to leave Texas after high school, so I visited several schools including USAO in Chickasha which offered me a scholarship.”
Though talented, it was the year after Covid and USAO had most of their seniors back, so Jewell was redshirted but she used another of her talents to find her spot on the team.
“The coach wanted me to be on the bench for all of the games because I was loud and knew how to fire up the team,” said Caudle.
So Jewell became a glorified cheerleader to fire up the Drovers but it wasn’t enough for this cowgirl.
“That year on the bench did teach me a good lesson about finding your role on the team no matter what it is which I think is important. But I’m a competitor and sitting on the bench was driving me insane so (coach) Jadyn (Wallis) and I decided maybe I should spend some time at a junior college where I could play more. I had heard about Connors but didn’t know much about it. But as soon as I walked on campus, I loved the community feel and coach (Bryan) Howard and we just hit it off and I knew that’s where I belonged.”
The feeling was mutual with the Cowgirls head coach as well.
“I watched her take about three swings when she visited and I was sold,” said Howard. “She is tough as nails, she’s a bulldog and a kid with passion and fire. She’s one of the few girls who doesn’t wear a faceguard when she bats and in one game late in the season, she took a pitch right to the face. There was a fountain of blood everywhere. I went to check on her and she is begging me to stay in the game. She ended up having to go to the hospital, but she was arguing with me until they took her off,” the coach chuckled.
Connors wasn’t expected to do much this past season, but Caudle helped guide them to the Region 2 championship game and Caudle was named All-Region at second base-a position she inherited after an injury to the starter. She hit .473 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs and even though she has received offers to move on, Caudle plans on spending another season in Warner.
“If I could draw up that this is the Cowgirl Way to do things, there would be a picture of Jewell in that article,” said Howard.