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Tahlequah Fastpitch Softball – Season Preview – Presented by Stuteville Ford

State tournament appearances have become routine for the Tahlequah fastpitch softball program. Head coach Chris Ray has led the Tigers to five consecutive trips in Class 5A, and overall, the program has advanced to the state tournament in six straight years.

Tahlequah returns six starters from its District 5A-4 championship team that posted a 30-10 overall record in 2022, so expectations will remain high for another deep playoff push this year.

Senior middle infielder Charlea Cochran has experience at both second base and shortstop, but transitioned as a full-time shortstop last season as a junior. The VYPE Top 100 selection hit .433 from the leadoff spot in the lineup last season and will be in her fourth year as a starter.

“Charlea has started in the middle infield the past three seasons. She hit .433 in the leadoff spot last season and compiled a .929 fielding percentage as the Tigers’ starting shortstop,” Ray said.

Jersey Retzloff will become the full-time catcher in 2023 after splitting time behind the plate last year. Retzloff, who will be a senior and hit .304 as a junior, can also play in the outfield.

The Tigers will have a new look from the pitcher’s circle following the departure of four-year starter Mikah Vann. Sophomore Riley Dotson will get the nod to replace Vann in a full-time role after limited time in 2022 where she posted a 4-5 mark. Dotson was impressive with the bat as a freshman, hitting .465. She also stole 28 bases.

“Riley will move into the ‘ace’ role in the circle,” Ray said. “She had big victories over state tournament qualifiers, Mustang and Pryor.”

Senior Loren Walker will give the Tigers valuable experience in the outfield and batted .295 in 2022.

“Loren patrols the outfield. She does an excellent job taking charge in the outfield,” Ray said. “At the plate, Loren is called upon quite frequently to sacrifice and move runners.”

Junior Jordan Bread is also back and will contribute in the outfield.

“Jordan is our team’s ‘Hype’ leader,” Ray said. “Jordan keeps the mood upbeat in the dugout and is a great teammate that is always encouraging.”

Joining Cochran, Retzloff and Walker as a senior in 2023 is infielder/catcher Maddy Parish.

Infielder/catcher Amelia Miller joins Bread as a junior. Other sophomores who will fill roles include outfielders Syda Alley, Kayli Basson, Cadence Kirk and Allie Spradlin, and infielders Alayna Stopp and Ellie Murphy.

Incoming freshmen are infielder/pitcher Lakyn Adams, outfielder Addison Bread, infielder/outfielder Hollie Carnes, infielder Regan Jackson, infielder/catcher Brayleigh Kester and infielder Miracle Munoz.

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