When the Yukon softball team takes the field for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Monday, it will look different than it has the last several years.
Not only will there be many new faces on the field for the Millerettes, but there will be a new head coach manning the dugout.
Katy Hoke was hired to replace Heather Shanahan in early July after Shanahan stepped down from the position.
Hoke didn’t have much time to prepare for the start of practice, as the Yukon school board officially approved her as the new head coach with less than a week prior to the start of preseason.
“The transition has been a little overwhelming only because of the short amount of time,” Hoke said. “But, Heather (Shanahan) has been great about helping me out if I have any questions.”
Yukon graduated one of the best senior classes in program history a year ago headlined by Chyenne Factor, who now is heading to Stillwater to join the Oklahoma State University softball program.
Hoke said the firepower the Millerettes lost from last year’s group is not replaceable, but she likes the players she has.
“These are different players with different skill sets,” Hoke said. “It may be that we score with a couple of base hits and executing a game plan at the plate instead of back-to-back homeruns. This will be a different team, but I like my players. It’ll be good see what this roster looks like when we get everyone back.”
Yukon hasn’t been able to practice or scrimmage with a full roster this preseason because of girls being out of town for club softball, injuries and other activities.
“Once we get a full roster, the roles will start being defined and I will have a better idea of what our line-up will look like,” Hoke said. “We need to improve our hitting, but I believe we will just get better with more time and more reps. I think once the season gets here and everyone comes back, there will be a sense of relief to just go out and play.”
Senior Annabell Provence said she likes the way the team is coming together.
“It’s going good, we are bonding,” she said. “I like this team a lot. We lost a lot of amazing and talented girls from last year, but with a lot of reps and hard work, I think we will be okay. It’s good having Coach Hoke as our head coach. She has always been here and it’s a lot better than having someone brand new.”