MOORE — Despite the abundance of talent from Oklahoma, Cowley County Community College fell short in reaching its goal of another NJCAA Division II National Championship in softball.
Cowley County was upset 3-2 by Jones County in the second round of the tourney. This forced them to drop to the losers bracket to try and fight its way back into title contention.
The Lady Tigers won four straight games over Kalamazoo, Sauk Valley, Kirkwood and Illinois Central and were one win away from playing for the championship when it met up with Phoenix College. The Tigers lost 1-0 to end their season.
Cowley County featured several area standouts. They included Haley Strawn (Southmoore), Melaney Anderson (Westmoore), Shelby Smith (Southmoore), Rondeci Oliver (Westmoore), Stephanie Couser (Moore) and Taylor Green (Westmoore).
Before the Lady Tigers headed to Clinton, MS. for the tournament, the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division champions were informed it had seven players named to the all-conference team.
The parade of players were led by Strawn. The shortstop batted .467 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Lady Tiger head coach Ed Hargrove was also recognized as the Jayhawk East Coach of the Year. Hargrove has guided the Lady Tiger softball team to a 25-game winning streak and a record of 47-6. Cowley went 24-2 in the Jayhawk East and won the conference title by two games over second place Labette.
The Jayhawk East Coach of the Year award marks the eighth time Hargrove has won the award.
“I think this is a sign of respect because of the fact that we kind of separated ourselves from the other teams in the conference,” Hargrove said.
Joining Strawn on the All- Conference first team are freshman pitcher Jessica Seay, sophomore outfielder Laura Seemann (.455 average, eight home runs, 46 RBIs). It’s back to back years for Strawn and Seeman.
“I am real pleased those two were able to achieve this honor,” Hargrove said. “They have gained a lot of respect over the last two years.”
Freshman second baseman Stephanie Couser (.412 average, 10 home runs, 40 RBIs), and sophomore pitcher Keelyn Bonar (21-4, 1.63 ERA) were named second-team all-conference.
While, sophomore first baseman Colby Dresher (.391 average, five home runs, 33 RBIs), and freshman outfielder Jordan Haya (.419 average, seven home runs, 51 RBIs) received honorable mention recognition.
With Dodge City, the sixth place team in the conference, garnering four first-team selections to Cowley’s three, the Lady Tigers had gripes for other players to receive all-conference honors, including freshman third baseman/designated player Caitlyn Cosme, who is second in the nation in runs batted in with 68. Cosme, a Norman native, leads the team in home runs (12) and doubles (22), while batting .397).
“I don’t want to sound selfish because seven all-conference selections is a pretty good honor, but Caitlyn has established herself as one of the top hitters in the nation,” Hargrove said. “To be that prominent on a national level it would seem to be a no-brainer that she would be named at least a first or second-team all-conference selection.”