Ada High softball season to kick off Monday

Mar. 16—The Ada High School slowpitch softball team is about to embark on its third season since head coach Jeremy Strong (and coach Taylor Henry before him) revived the program after being dormant for more than 20 years.

During the 2023 spring season, Strong watched the program make great strides during a "sophomore" season that ended with the Lady Cougars sporting a 13-17 record. However, Ada won seven straight games to end the season before dropping a pair of competitive games to ninth-ranked Chandler in the playoffs.

Strong hopes the momentum his team ended with last year will carry over to this spring when Ada kicks off the season at 4:30 Monday in a road game at Roff. Ada will host Seminole at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"I expect us to go out and compete every night. We gained a lot of momentum last year and hopefully that will continue," Strong told The Ada News during his team's annual Media Day. "Slowpitch is a lot different when it comes to hitting than fastpitch, especially if you haven't done it before. We finally got into a rhythm last year and hopefully, we can get back in the rhythm a little bit earlier in the season this year."

It looked like Ada would start the season with four seniors on the roster, but that number dropped to three when slugger and potential starting pitcher Tyley Dotson informed Strong she was advised not to play this spring. Dotson appeared to have recovered from an ACL surgery that forced her to miss the 2023 Ada fastpitch season and the entire Lady Cougar basketball season.

However, Dotson was dressed out and was an enthusiastic participant in Ada's Media Day and looked ready for the upcoming softball season. But all that has since changed.

"Tyley wanted to compete. She brought a great attitude to the team," Strong said. "She wanted to be out here with her teammates."

The show must go on without Dotson, the team's top power hitter. Now, more than ever, Strong said his team must be able to manufacture runs.

"We're definitely going to have to swing the bats and string hits together because we don't have the power we had last year," he said.

Ada will still lean on its remaining three seniors — Abbey Strong, Rylynn Truett and Josie Morgan.

"Those are basically kids we've seen grow up since they were in t-ball. I'm excited for these seniors. It's going to be kind of bittersweet," Strong said.

With Dotson out, it looks like Truett will be called upon to step into the circle for the Lady Cougars.

"We have to throw strikes and force other people to swing the bat because I think our defense is going to be really solid," Strong said. "Rylynn Truett has pitched quite a bit and has done a good job on the mound and we are working with a few other girls that want to learn how to pitch. It won't hurt to have some depth there because you never know what's going to happen during the season."

Strong said preseason practices have been good and he's looking forward to seeing how his team can progress throughout the year.

"They're eager to work and eager to learn. Every practice we've had so far has been a good practice and hopefully we continue that trend through the highs and lows and keep working hard," he said.