CHICKASHA – A team complete with eight freshman and only three seniors, the 2011 Drover softball women must be ready to compete at the tough Sooner Athletic Conference level.

“I think one of our weaknesses is our experience and youth, but I also think that will be a strength,” Head Coach Jenn White-Cody said.

Cody and Assistant Coach Ken Richardson have brought in three new pitchers to help round out the team, which lost all its experience in the circle last season.

“We have so many that are important to our success,” Cody said. “I think they will all be vital to our success to be honest. I think they’ll have to contribute in an important way.”

One of the key returners Cody pointed out was senior Laci Weger-Garrett, who is a four-year starter for the Drovers. Cody said Weger-Garrett will continue to be important at the plate and on the field.

Christina Wilson, also a senior, sustained a shoulder injury early in 2010 and missed the majority of the season.

“It really hurt us in the outfield last year,” Cody said. “But she’ll be our starting centerfielder this season.”

In her second season as head coach, Cody said she has set a goal to be in the top five in the conference.

“I think my goal is the same as it would be every year, which is to improve,” she said. “Every year, just bring something better to the program and to the school.”

After a rough 2010 season, Cody said she hopes to see a stronger team this year.

“I’m expecting to see this season for us to improve. We’re going to be young. We’re going to make some mistakes, and hopefully, we’re going to keep getting better and better,” Cody said. “But I expect us to be better than we were last year.”

One of the aspects that has been improved, Cody said, is the team chemistry, which is already stronger this season.

The team has been preparing for the season opener with basic drills and communication-based work. Before the snow hit, the team had begun doing some scrimmage work as a way to prepare for the upcoming games.

“So the girls can get that ‘game feel’ and know what it’s like to be out there,” Cody said.

The women open up with home play with a doubleheader on Feb. 15 against Oklahoma Christian. The first pitch will be at 1 p.m. at Bill Smith Ballpark.

Published: Feb. 15, 2011