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Dragons excited about 2023

Fast-pitch begins Monday at Bethel


Purcell Coaches Sarah Jones and Roger Raper are blessed with more depth than usual in a very competitive opening to the 2023 fast-pitch season.

Purcell opens the year at Bethel Monday at 5 p.m.

The Dragons are led by seniors Kelly Anderson, Payci Constant, Savanna Edwards and Kailynn Helton.

“It should really be an exciting year this season,” Jones confirmed. “All our seniors will play major roles this year. Savanna at first, Payci and Kailynn in the outfield and Kelly at first or outfield.”

Juniors  on the roster this season include Ella Resendiz, Hannah Whitaker, Hadleigh Harp, Kenna Esparza, Anika Raper and Brynley Jennings .

“Jennings is officially able to get back on dirt from being injured her entire sophomore year,” Jones reported.

Sophomores out for softball this year include MacKenzie McKay, Lilliana “Lili” Del Toro, Aubrey Elmore, Rosie Smith, Ellie Reed, Emma Renfro, McKinly Miller and new to fast-pitch Kaylin “KK”Vazquez.

Freshman on the roster are  Jasey Baker, Kylee Barrett and Madison Jarvis

Junior Haley Kretchmar will serve as manager.

Seeing time in the circle are returning starters Ella Resendiz and Hannah Whitaker

“Ella had 131 strikeouts last season and only saw 109 innings,” the coach said. “Keeping her healthy is a top priority. The good thing is that she has a staff to back her up.

“Hannah Whitaker has been working hard and it is showing. Senior Kailynn Helton continues to do her job on the mound getting ground balls and pop flies, sophomores Lili Del Toro, Rosie Smith and Mac McKay are going to be giving us a lot of innings this year,” Jones said.

“Savanna may even see some time to give them a lefty look,” the coach said. “Each girl compliments each other and we will be able to share time to keep everyone healthy. They each bring something different which works in our favor.”

Behind the plate, will be Mac McKay, Rosie Smith, Kaylin Vazquez and Kylee Barrett.

On the infield will be Ella, Hannah, Savanna, Kenna, KK, Rosie, Aubrey, Mac, Jasey, Kelly, Lili and Emma.

Outfielders include Payci, Hadleigh, Kailynn, KK, Brynley, Lili, Jasey, Kelly, Kenna, Anika, Madison, Emma, McKinly, Ellie and Kylee, the coach said.

“I have said that we have a lot of depth before but I don’t think that I have meant it as much as I do now,” Jones continued. “Every single person on this team can play more than one position. Each girl brings a different strength to the team and each girl’s weaknesses are five other girl’s strengths.

“You will see a lot of rotation through the lineup in the first few weeks of the season in order for us to figure out what works best. I feel that everyone on the team is there for each other and wants the girl beside them to succeed. That is one of the key components that we will need this year.”

“We have speed, we have power, we have the short game, we have a common goal. We are slowly learning that July, August and even September is the biggest and best time to grow and more importantly stay healthy,” the coach said.

“I mentioned the other day that Saturday, July 29 is not as important as Saturday, October 14,” she said.

Purcell has been bumped up to 4A and are in a new district this year with Ada, Byng, Dickson, Madill, Pauls Valley, Plainview and Sulphur.

“This year there will also be a Super Regional.

The Regional Champion and Runner-up will each get to go to a super regional where they must win two out of three to punch their ticket to the State Tournament.

Dragon notes:

Head coach Sarah Jones reports the junior high program coached by Joseph Franco and Stephanie Knowles is getting better every day.

Jones said they will be a talented group that will be able to upset some good teams.

“Coach (Roger) Raper and I are really excited about this 2023 team. We are ready to see how these seniors will lead this team when adversity hits, which girl will step up, and who will make the clutch hit, or the big play. It is going to be an exciting season and we hope to see everyone in the stands, “Jones concluded.


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