Batter up: Yukon softball looks for continued success

With a core of returning starters from 2016’s semifinal team, Yukon softball coach Heather Shanahan is looking for even more this year.
Shanahan, who is returning to the team this year after taking last season off for family leave, said this year’s team has the potential to be extremely successful.
“We are returning most of the core group. We did have some key losses in the infield,” she said.
The team lost its catchers, as well as a pitcher, first and third bases. However, both shortstop and second base have returners.
And a freshman may be behind the plate.
“This is a group with a high softball IQ. They play a lot of club ball. They are very committed to the game. This is a very special group and they are hungry. They’ve got a good offensive game, and they have experience,” she said.
The team has been to state the last two seasons, and that experience helps, Shanahan said.
The coach said the team has three strong pitchers, two of whom have state softball experience.
Senior Breley Webb and junior Bree Johnson are expected to see ac tion, as is junior Rilee Yale.
The team is filled with seniors, many of whom already have college commitments.
Cheyenne Factor, Shanahan said, is likely the best player on the team. She already has committed to playing at Oklahoma State University, and she has a lot of softball experience.
She will start at shortstop after moving there two years ago from outfield following an injury to another player.
“She gets it,” Shanahan said.
Leah Holman has committed to Seminole State, while Jaden Flowers and Anna Icenhower have both committed to colleges. Flowers is planning to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State at Alva, while Icenhower is planning to attend Butler Community College in Kansas.
The other seniors include Rilee Uhr, who plays centerfield and Izzy Haney, who will spend time behind the plate.
“This senior class has been special,” the coach said. “They have gotten better. Their maturity level has grown and with that, so has their talent.”
But it’s not just seniors. Shanahan said all of the players are dedicated.
The team is expected to have 26 members of varsity and junior varsity. Most of those players spend their summer with club teams, traveling to play ball.
“They are playing a lot of softball,” she said. “They’ve worked incredibly hard. They are playing 100 ball games a year. While most kids their age are going to the lake, they are going to a ball park. I respect how hard they work.”
The Millerettes open their season Aug. 7 at Midwest City.

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