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Stigler Softball Athlete Spotlight – Dara Hamlin – Presented by King and Shearwood Funeral Home

Most softball coaches will tell you that team success starts with that person in the circle. And for the Stigler Lady Panthers that person last year was senior-to-be Dara Hamlin. The four-year starter rung up 198 strikeouts in 183 innings and had a 1.50 ERA in helping lead Stigler to its first state tournament berth in recent history and, for her, a spot in the VYPE Top 100 softball players for 2022.

“Dara will probably leave Stigler as the career leader in strikeouts after this year,” said second-year coach Tyler Guthrie. “She’s very competitive and pitches her best in the big games.”

Although she also played some basketball up through her freshman year, softball has always been Dara’s main focus.

“I just like the adrenalin rush that comes after every pitch and throughout the game.” Hamlin will be the lone senior on the Lady Panthers roster this year so the role of team leader will fall squarely on her shoulders.

“She really leads by example,” said Guthrie. “She shows up for everything for one thing. Even during the summer when the workouts are more voluntary, Dara is always there and ready to go and that’s what you want in a senior leader.”

Dara says she has grown up following the OU softball teams and has always admired the leadership and good sportsmanship they’ve displayed. As she enters her senior year, Hamlin has received college offers from Cowley Community College in Kansas and Ecclesia College in Arkansas and coach Guthrie is hopeful that will increase this year with more exposure and as word of Hamlin’s talents spreads.

“Up until now, Stigler really hasn’t been on many schools’ radar for softball so this year I’ve worked to really upgrade our schedule. Dara will have a chance to throw against some of the better Class 5A and 6A teams this year which should give her added exposure and, if she has the kind of season I think she will, more looks from college coaches.”

Though she still has this year to make memories, Dara Hamlin has already created one that she won’t forget.

“Last year we hosted regionals and I got the game ending strikeout that sent us on to state. This year I want to pitch well and be the kind of leader that people can look up to while creating kindness and good camaraderie on the team.”

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