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Tahlequah’s Riley Dotson – Softball Spotlight – Presented by Tahlequah Family Vision Clinic

Riley Dotson’s role is changing significantly for Tahlequah this season.

Dotson, who was phenomenal as a freshman outfielder, will see more time as a pitcher in 2023.

But she will continue to be a key ingredient to the Tigers’ lineup offensively. 

Dotson was a table setter from the top of the order, hitting a team-high .465 and stealing a team-best 28 bases. She was second on the team in runs scored (38), second in hits (53), hit three home runs and was tied for the team lead in RBIs (38).

She is replacing four-year starter Mikah Vann as the ace in the pitcher’s circle. In a limited role last season, she posted a 4-5 record, which included wins over state qualifiers Mustang and Pryor.

Dotson wants to help continue Tahlequah’s yearly routine of advancing to the state tournament. The Tigers went 30-10 overall, won the District 5A-4 championship and reached the state tournament for a sixth consecutive year.

“I want to simply do my job, whether it’s on the field or at the plate. Go out there and compete,” Dotson said. “We want to outwork the competition and make it back to the state tournament.”

Dotson is feeling more at ease after a full year under her belt. But she had already played on the biggest of stages prior to her first year at the high school level. She was on the first Oklahoma team to claim a Little League World Series championship.

“I feel like my confidence in my abilities has improved. Last year as a freshman I was just trying to find my way. I feel more comfortable,” she said.

Last year against Mustang in an early-season tournament in Broken Arrow, Dotson had a walk-off hit to propel the Tigers to a 7-6 win. That moment, along with Tahlequah’s regional championship and berth to the state tournament, are Dotson’s top moments to this point in the early stages of her career.

“Most memorable moment would be a tie between hitting a walk-off against 6A Mustang in the Broken Arrow Tournament as a freshman, and making it to the state tournament. The atmosphere there is something special. Our cheering section was awesome,” Dotson said.

Dotson, who is also a standout in track for Tahlequah and is a member of the Native American National Honor Society and S-Club, says her parents are her biggest influences.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and would not have achieved all the things I have without them,” she said. “I want to wish a big thanks to them for introducing me to the game, and the constant support and encouragement they give me.”

The 2022 Tulsa All-World honorable mention selection and 5A All-District selection has goals of continuing her athletic career at the collegiate level in either softball or track, while studying to be a nurse or PTA.

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