PRYOR, OK —
Area softball teams will commence action around Mayes County next week.
Locust Grove will be the first area school to don the home jerseys, facing off against Tahlequah-Sequoyah Monday at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Pirates will also play at Vinita Tuesday and Hilldale Thursday.
Sand Springs will be the foe for a pair of county squads on opening day at the the Claremore Festival Tuesday. Adair draws the Lady Sandites at 1:30 p.m., and Pryor is set to tangle with Sand Springs at 3:15.
The Lady Tigers graduated five seniors from last year's state tournament team but return several key contributors, including rising senior infielders Shelby Ayers, Hailey White and Abbye Jones and outfielders Nicci Eldridge, Chelsie Kelly and Amanda Grossman.
Kelly and Eldridge will also assume catching duties, while Jones and Haley Young will anchor the circle.
Adair, which went 28-9 in 2012, will have a difficult task replacing a pair of all-state talents in first-baseman Anna Crawford and shortstop Raven Campos. Senior Bailey Stephens brings the biggest bat back to the Lady Warrior lineup, and Lauren Newby will fill the circle in Adair's bid for its sixth state title.
Adair and Pryor will continue to cross paths early in the season, as both will travel to Broken Arrow for the BA Tournament Aug. 16-17.
Salina and Chouteau will also headline on opening day, with a battle of the Lady Wildcats slated to start at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Salina. A rematch is set for Monday, Aug. 19, in Chouteau.