Season Preview: Howe Softball and Baseball

Brian GossetStaff Writer

Lady Bulldogs Softball

Head Coach: Adam Rupert

District: 10-3A

Last Season: 19-11, 8-6 (11-2A)

Playoff Finish: Bi-District vs Caddo Mills

Roster

Madisyn Hargrove

Dani Ross

Christina Counts

Erin Blackburn

Torrey Stubblefield

Peyton Tinney

Peyton Streetman

Kayla Anderson

Emily Sanders

Payton Griffin

Jessica Doty

Peyton Groves

Hunter Brockelman

Madelyn Mullens

Kamryn Fulenchek

Summary: Howe hired Adam Rupert in July, who spent the last two years as principal at Commerce. Previously, Rupert was assistant principal at Allen, football offensive coordinator at Greenville and football head coach at Whitesboro and Weatherford. He takes over for Jennifer Sluder, who took the same position with district foe Pottsboro. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs made their first postseason since winning the 2010 district title and have made the playoffs six times since 2003, area in 2010 and 2006. They lost two games to Caddo Mills, both by one run. They lose four including Allison Streetman, Makenzie Duffee and Jaida Upchurch, who earned 1st Team All-District and was the team’s primary power hitter but return five that earned All-District awards. Sophomores Emily Sanders (1st Team) was last year’s leadoff hitter; Madisyn Hargrove (2nd) spent time on the mound and at second; Dani Ross (2nd) behind the plate; and Kayla Anderson earned honorable mention while senior Peyton Tinney (2nd), who signed with Stephen F. Austin in the fall, also returns to the lineup.

Bulldogs Baseball

Head Coach: Torrey Ognoskie

District: 10-3A

Last Season: 19-8, 12-2 (11-2A)

Playoff Finish: Bi-District vs Farmersville

Roster

Easton Ross

Griffin Underwood

Nick Wilson

Zach Blevins

Quinton Harris

Tanner Stubblefield

Triston Matthews

Josh Griffin

Caleb Ake

Matt Griffin

Stratton Carroll

Brennan Ross

David Crees

Dalton Felder

Summary: In his first season with Howe, Torrey Ognoskie won Coach of the Year and the Bulldogs won their first district title since 1993. The strength this season will be the infield, the entirety returning with three seniors. That includes shortstop Easton Ross (1st Team), Co-Offensive Player of the Year Quinton Harris at first base, third baseman Caleb Ake (2nd Team), second baseman Griffin Underwood (2nd Team) and catcher Zach Blevins (honorable mention). 12 players earned All-District awards but Ognoskie is losing seven players, including 1st Teamer Randle Nix and District MVP Garrett Fulenchek, who is now in the Atlanta Braves organization. In the outfield, Stratton Carroll also returns but may not play due to an ACL injury from football which leaves Nick Wilson with any playing experience out there. Brennan Ross could see time at varsity after helping junior varsity win last year’s district title. Underwood should be slotted as the team’s ace after Fulenchek’s departure while the Griffin boys, Josh and Matt, pitched well as starters and out of the bullpen. The Bulldogs will look for their fourth-straight postseason, seventh since 2006 and first bi-district title since 2009.