By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — Southmoore enters the 2013 season with a young team. That is a fact that coach Jeff Small can't escape. But it's also one that he is not hiding from.
"I don't think I have three kids that can drive to school," Small said. "But we played a lot of young kids last year. We have another really good group of young kids. Our junior high team was undefeated last two years and those kids are now freshman and sophomores. I think they are real promising. I am real excited. I feel like barring injury and illness and eligibility and those kind of issues, I think this is going to be the best bunch we've had. I think they have ore talent right now."
The SaberCats first game of the season took place Tuesday with a trip to Lawton High. They were looking at the possibility of starting as many as six freshman and sophomores in the lineup.
Yet, even with a team he feels is talented, Small knows their are issues that arise when dealing with such a youthful roster.
"Challenges are they are just young," Small said. "It's not the athleticism so much. It's really learning. Learning our systems, our sets and coverage’s and defense. It's being coachable. We have a very short time for them to get their heads wrapped around everything we need to do. Making sure they understand what the expectations are. Paying attention and playing hard al the time. We won't accept not giving 110 percent. We have too much competition for that. If somebody is not going to play hard, you will have to sit down."
Small will look to Kaitlyn Brown to help offset the youth surge on the team. The senior enters this seasons the all-time leader in almost every pitching and hitting category for the SaberCats program.
Brown will have tot help guide a strong freshman class that is coming in with high expectations. It includes the likes of catcher Trenity Edwards, who began getting recruiting letters and D-I college scholarship offers as an eighth grader.
"I feel we have the best collection of softball players we've had since I've been here," Small said. "I expect big things out of them. They are working pretty hard. But again they still have to come together as a team. And care enough and respect each other enough that you don't have the little jealousies and things you have on those teams. It's their team. They have to decide what they want to accomplish. You are as strong as your weakest link."
The SaberCats will travel to the Broken Arrow tournament this weekend, where they will face a strong line up of teams over two days. It will give Small a chance to see exactly where his team stands early on in this season.
"We are going to play some people we haven't played before," Small said. "You have to be ready to play everybody. There are a bunch of good teams in that tourney. It's three games Friday and three games Saturday. It's going to be challenging. I'm really looking forward to the challenges because the tough games are where you measure yourself. I want them to have fun. I just think winning is fun."