Iowa Park is the softball team to beat in the region, at least according to the Texas High School Coaches.
The Coaches Preseason Poll, released Monday, picked the Lady Hawks as the 4A No. 3 team in the state and the favorite to win the district over Vernon, Burkburnett, Graham, Hirschi and Mineral Wells.
The state’s coaches have no love for the Lady Lions, despite the squad returning seven starters from last season — a season which was ended before district play started due to the covid pandemic. That Lady Lion team had already notched wins over four state-ranked teams.
The Lady Lions return several players with experience of back-to-back state tournament runs in 2017 and 2018 and a district title in 2019.
Two seniors –Shay Williams at pitcher and Addison Spencer at catcher, both were 1st team All-District in 2019. Williams had a 1.899 ERA in 2019, and had a 6-1 pitching record in the 2018 state season, when she was the 6-4A Newcomer of the Year. She batted .306 at the plate in ‘19, and .537 in ‘19. Spencer had a .359 average in ‘19.
Seniors Emily Boyd and Jaila McBride also earned second team All-District honors in 2019 and were off to strong starts in 2020, before the season ended. Also returning is junior Carli White, who missed last spring with an injury.
Vernon has a new head coach this season — Kirsten Kenyon will take over as the manager and she has a talented group of seniors and juniors to build on.
The season is scheduled to begin February 16 with Vernon hosting Archer City.
Class 4A Preseason poll
- Iowa Park
- Midlothian Heritage
- San Elizario
- Caddo Mills
- Paris North Lamar