VYPE: All championships are special but what makes this one unique?
Coach Powell: This championship is unique because everyone is different. We haven’t won a fastpitch championship since 2018 so no one on this team has won one. We have been so close the last 4 years but just couldn’t get it done. We had a goal to get it done this year and to see all the hard work pay off was truly amazing! Our Kids wanted to be part of the history and tradition that we have here at Dale so bad and worked so hard to pull this off.
VYPE: Each team is also unique. What made this squad special and how will you remember this year’s team?
Coach Powell: What makes the squad special is the pitching and defense. This was not the best hitting team we have ever had at Dale, but this team is tough physically and mentally. We have a great player at every position and one of the best pitchers in the state of Oklahoma regardless of class.
VYPE: What did you all do as a team to celebrate this championship?
Coach Powell: We went and ate steak at Paul’s Place in Stillwater. Some of my best memories of the championships that I have won are the bus rides to go eat after. The pure joy and feeling of accomplishment and to watch them cheer and sing on the bus are priceless memories!!
VYPE: Who were some of your key performers in your run to state?
Coach Powell: Obviously the biggest performer was Kinsley Hill in the circle who had just a spectacular year. Only gave up 8 earned runs all year and had 0.447 ERA. She also had 217 Ks in only 125 innings and didn’t give up a single earned run in the playoffs.
VYPE: Kinsley Hill (P, Jr) was spectacular in the state tournament. What is her ceiling as she prepares for her senior season?
Coach Powell: Kinsley’s ceiling is high. Although she has had two great seasons in a row she has some pitches that she can really develop by next fall that will make her even better for her senior year.
VYPE: This year’s team was fairly young. How key were those upperclassmen and leaders?
Coach Powell: Our two seniors where great this year. Karsen Griggs, who has committed to Kansas University to play softball, was unbelievable defensively at shortstop and hit really solid in the two hole. Her experience was invaluable to the team. Gracee Waller was a true utility player. She played first, third, catcher and outfield and never complained or was selfish about where she played. Their Leadership was key in our state championship run!
VYPE: With the youth on the roster, how good can this team be next season?
Coach Powell: This team, even though losing two great players, will compete for another state championship next year. It will be our only goal! With the pitching we have back and the development of our underclassmen I believe we should be the favorites!
VYPE: After a stretch of four fast pitch championships in six years (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018), the Lady Pirates had not won a fast pitch title in five seasons until this season. How have you seen 2A softball grow and improve in your time at Dale?
Coach Powell: I think softball in Oklahoma including 2A class is as good as it’s ever been. The players just keep getting better and better. It seems like if you don’t have five or six or more good college players then you really don’t have much of a chance regardless of what class you’re in. Oklahoma is as good as it gets in the softball world!
VYPE: While it probably wasn’t easy to wait, does going five years between fast-pitch titles make this one a little extra sweet?
Coach Powell: It does, I think? The competition in Oklahoma is so good you never know if you will ever win one again no matter how good your players are! We feel so blessed to win it here at Dale and never ever take it for granted that we will when again even though that is always our goal.
VYPE: Dale always is in state title conversations. Whether it’s basketball, softball, boys, or girls, Dale is always in it at the end. What makes Dale special in that way?
Coach Powell: Dale is just a special place! I have never seen a school where the kids work harder and make wining at whatever they do a priority like they do here. From the kids to the parents to the administration, we are all on board to give us the best chance to compete. I also think it helps that we only play two sports in girls and boys. Kids here know we have such a tradition and have to work harder than anyone to keep it going.
VYPE: As a coach that has had a lot of success, what keeps you motivated?
Coach Powell: All I have ever wanted to do is compete and win. I literally don’t feel like I’ve worked a day in my life. I’m still doing what I did when I started playing when I was 8 years old, competing and trying to win. The older I get though, I see how important it is to mentor kids. Teaching life lessons and making sure these girls do well in the game of life keeps me going and motivated.