Diamond readies for state tournament competition

May 13—The Diamond High School softball team has won 35 games and a district championship in the 2024 season. Now, it has to prepare for the state tournament and a shot at its second title in three seasons.

On the way, the Wildcats have only been held to five runs or less in eight of their 36 games. It hasn't just been the offense that's led them to a 35-1 record, the pitching staff has held opponents to less than four runs in 24 of the 36 contests. And only 12 games this year have shown a final score within four runs.

Diamond will play its state sectional game on at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Diamond. There is a plan in place for the game to either be pushed back to Wednesday or moved to Neosho's all-turf field if rain causes Diamond's field to be unplayable.

Forsyth (17-15) is Diamond's opponent. The Panthers and Wildcats met March 27 at Diamond. The Wildcats won 14-0.

"They're on a winning streak right now, and that's a team you don't want to underestimate," Diamond head coach Kelsey Parrish said.

That type of production isn't uncommon. Diamond won 12 games by 10 or more runs this year and scored 10 or more runs in a total of 16 games.

As Parrish noted, Forsyth is on a run coming into the state tournament with five consecutive wins and an 8-0 victory over Sparta in the Class 2 District 5 championship.

Diamond has won the last three contests; the two teams have never met in the postseason.

Last year's loss to Mount Vernon in the Class 2 District 6 championship left a lot of the Wildcats wanting more. They avenged that loss in 2023 by beating the Mountaineers 5-3 in the district title game this year.

"These girls have been super hungry," Parrish said.

Some stats

If the hunger doesn't appear in the 35-1 record it might in some of the stats accumulated across the 36 games.

Senior catcher Grace Frazier leads the team with 68 hits and a batting average of .567. Her on-base percentage of .610 is also a team-best. She leads the team with 47 stolen bases as well and has only been caught five times.

Both Lauren Turner and Caitlyn Suhrie have 19 stolen bases; Turner has been caught once, Suhrie none.

Frazier isn't known for slugging the ball — 57 of her 68 hits are singles. The slugging is more of Suhrie or Turner's thing.

Suhrie has 12 home runs on the year and holds a slugging percentage of .949 and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.475. Turner has hit nine homers and has a slugging percentage of .930 and OPS of 1.478. Turner's .530 batting average and 61 hits are second on the team.

Freshman Taelyn Reeder leads the team with 14 doubles. Turner is second with 13.

Reeder is slashing .467/.504/.657 in her first season of varsity softball. That makes for an OPS of 1.161.

Turner leads the team with 58 runs batted in. Suhrie adds 50 RBIs. Frazier's 61 runs scored are a team best while Suhrie has scored 57 times and Turner 54.

Triples are hard to come by but Suhrie has hit four this year, Turner three and Kabrie Parmley has two. Parmley also is second on the team with 10 walks. Marissa DeJager leads the team with 11 free passes.


The pitching staff has done its job as well. In fact, it's something that coach Parrish has constantly said she was "blessed" with this year. And assistant coach/pitching coach BJ Lorenzen spoke about the four pitchers.

"They've been hitting their spots. They can control different speeds really well," Lorenzen said.

Those pitchers are Suhrie, Turner, Reeder and Sara Roszell. Each one brings something different to the team when they're in the circle.

"We have a lot of different pitchers that specialize in different pitches," Lorenzen added.

Suhrie has pitched 99 2/3 innings this season and sports a tough 0.91 earned run average. She's allowed 59 hits and 49 walks while striking out 158 batters. Only 13 of the 34 runs have been earned. Suhrie has a WHIP of 1.08.

Reeder has tossed 68 1/3 innings in the circle while limiting opponents to just 31 runs and 19 earned (1.94 ERA). She's allowed 44 hits, 32 walks and struck out 113 batters. Reeder's WHIP is 1.11.

Turner spends most of her time at shortstop but has pitched 35 1/3 innings allowing just nine earned runs out of 22 total scored. Turner stays in the strike zone only walking four batters and surrendering 27 hits. She allows less than one baserunner per inning with a WHIP of 0.87. Her ERA is 1.78. Turner has struck out 48 batters.

"It's definitely been a blessing. It's probably something that most teams don't have. It's definitely made us better having different styles of pitchers," Lorenzen said. "It's also made us better batters because we throw live.

"Our pitchers are never overpitched. We have four really solid pitchers that we could throw."

That fourth arm is Sara Roszell, who has pitched in eight varsity innings this season.