School records set by Dale slow pitch squad

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
The Dale Lady Pirates hoist their Class 4A state slow pitch championship trophy on May 5.
Dale's Karsen Griggs rounds second base after hitting a three-run homer against Latta in the semifinals of the Class 4A state slow pitch tournament on May 5.

DALE – When seven players crank out double-digit home run totals in slow pitch softball for a season, more than likely that team experienced an extreme amount of success.

Such was the case recently for the Dale Lady Pirates who rolled to an impressive 40-2 record and a Class 4A State Slow Pitch championship. It was the fifth straight state title with four consecutive from 2016-2019. There was no 2020 season played due to the pandemic.

“It really never gets old. Everyone is still on Cloud 9,” said Dale head coach Andy Powell. “When we won it in 2019, we had had a group of eight seniors, so I wasn't sure how good we would be, especially not getting to play last spring. This arguably was one of the best ever at least offensively. I can't say that I totally saw this coming, but midway through the year it was obvious. It was an amazing season.”

Not much is known about records set in slow pitch softball in Oklahoma, since the sport was launched in the 1980's.

A couple of things are certain. The 2021 version of the Lady Pirates set a school record with a whopping 227 home runs for the season and pitcher Maddie Conley established the school mark for individual homers with 60.

“It wasn't like you could pitch around her because the girl behind her, Karsen Griggs, hit 39 homers,” Powell said. “You couldn't pitch around Maddie. I guess you could but it was futile.”

Powell thought that playing the state tournament at the Ballfields at Firelake had some advantages for Dale as well as opposed to Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City where the fences are deeper out.

“We hit 25 home runs on the day (in the three state tournament games) and had more power than anyone else,” Powell said.

Conley capped off the 2021 season in fitting fashion with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning of Dale's 24-12 victory over Silo in the 4A state title game. It was Conley's third home run of the contest as she also doubled once and went 5-for-5 from the plate with nine runs batted in. The Lady Pirates homered nine times in that game.

Home runs were the norm for the day in the three-game state tournament victories for the Lady Pirates.

In a 25-7 first-round win, Dale compiled 12 homers, including four from Sam Hartman and two apiece from Danyn Lang, Anna Hester and Chayse Caram. Conley and Karsen Griggs hit one each.

Dale followed that up later in the with four round-trippers in the Lady Pirates' 16-4 semifinal victory over Latta with Griggs, Hester, Addie Bell and Caram each going deep once.

The Lady Pirates' home run blitz for the season, besides Conley's 60 and Griggs' 39, included 30 from Caram, 29 from Hartman, 22 from Bell, 22 from Hester and 18 from Lang. Emilia Idleman (four homers) and Makenzy Herman (three) rounded out Dale's home run total.

The team also produced 20 triples and 127 doubles for the season. The Lady Pirates' team batting average was .566 and 656 runs were driven in for the year.

Griggs' .710 batting average topped the team, followed by Conley (.683), Lang (.619), Bell (.612), Hartman (.587), Caram (.583), Hester (.579), Gracee Waller (.419), Herman (.411), Idleman (.407) and Lexi White (.398).

Conley led the team with 144 runs batted in and Griggs accumulated 104. Hartman and Caram followed with 75 and 74 respectively.

Thirty-nine of Dale's 40 wins were achieved by the Lady Pirates reaching double digits and they reached double digits in one of the losses.

Dale's only setbacks came to a pair of Class 6A teams – state quarterfinalist Choctaw (14-13) and state finalist Moore (19-9).