News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outlaws softball gains strength

It's not where they are, it's where they're going.

On this day, Outlaws Varsity Softball is running laps. The number of errors made during games determines the number of laps run during practice. Initially, those figures were embarrassingly high. Slowly but surely, the mistakes are lessening.

Huddling his team, Outlaws Varsity Head Coach Gary Barr discusses the good and the bad. He praises several players - for batting averages above .400 and .500, for making smart plays, for setting good examples - but makes sure to say their mistakes have been, well, too darn many.

After having the girls circle the bases, they spend extra time underneath fly balls, learning to communicate quickly before the catch ("I got it! I got it!"; "Hit the cutoff!"; "Throw home!").

Holes in their defensive game have allowed opponents to run up the scoreboard. In an April 11 doubleheader vs. Creswell, Sisters fell 2-16, then 5-17.

But the five runs were a high mark and a far cry from the shutouts endured earlier in the season.

Sisters High School softball squad is composed of the 14 players who tried out: five freshman, five juniors, three sophomores, and a senior. There is no junior varsity or freshman team.

Three of the players are new to the sport; one had never hit, caught, or thrown a softball before.

The team has just two pitchers - Kathryn Scholl and Ella Davis - and a catcher, Saylor Weston.

Scholl, a dominant six-foot-one-inch junior, was away last Thursday for a club volleyball commitment, so Davis pitched two games back-to-back vs. Creswell. She was a force, striking out batters from the mound and tagging out runners at home before hitting a double and driving in runs.

"I had five at-bats and went three for five, but I'm super proud of the girls: our freshman laying a bunt down and having a base hit – that was awesome – and then our center fielder with her diving catches. We fought through and saw a lot of improvement," said Davis, a junior at Sisters High School.

A natural athlete and team leader, Davis was her teammates' unanimous choice for captain.

"I'm glad that I'm able to help encourage the girls. I'm really grateful for that role I get to play for them, trying to be an example," Davis said. "We're definitely learning, but we're progressing."

Things are looking up for next season, too, considering what's brewing in Sisters' "farm team."

"We have 11 eighth-graders that will be moving up next year to high school for softball, which is a big deal for us," said Kim Davis, president of Sisters Little League, which develops kids into Outlaws.

Davis' youngest daughter is among those players. Since she'll be an Outlaw next year, Mom will step aside after 28 years as a Little League player, volunteer, board member, and top leader.

"What I'm leaving behind is incredible to see. I'm really proud of it," Davis said.

Meantime, the current high-schoolers focus on fundamentals, build each other up, and push closer to notching the win column.

Outlaws Varsity Softball host La Pine at 3 and 5 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

Matt Van Slyke covers youth academic and athletic programs in Sisters. Got a story idea? Get in touch: [email protected].

 

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