By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Dee Emarthle said there hasn’t been a peep of it. No locker room contest to see which Muskogee softball girl first clears the new outfield wall at newly renovated, newly named Hal Sands Field.
Emarthle is the closest so far. She has the first dent, placed there on a run-producing double in the third of a 14-4 home opening win against Sallisaw on Tuesday.
“It’s not my mindset to hit home runs, it’s just to get base hits,” she said, as suggested by an eavesdropping coach Keith Coleman.
The wall is in five feet — 210 down the lines, 225 to center, and is eight feet high except from gap to gap where it goes up two additional feet.
“It’s more fastpitch style with the idea of eliminating some of the pop up home runs. I think strength for a long time has been our speed,” said Coleman. “I don’t think it will ultimately play different. It looks better.”
Three MHS players have hit at least 19 home runs in seasons dating back to 2010. Emarthle hit seven last season.
Carlee Gann had the most productive hit of the game, a two-run single that immediately proceeded Emarthle’s shot. In an earlier at-bat, Emarthle pulled a foul that if straighter, might’ve cleared the wall in the corner.
Both hits were part of a five-run, five-hit inning. Muskogee, No. 2 in the rankings behind Broken Arrow, had six runs in the first on one hit, that being a single by Gann. Six walks and three errors were the main culprits in that eruption.
Muskogee (4-0) had 10 hits. Gann and Brook Hendrickson were both 2-for-3. Emarthle walked in her previous two trips Leadoff hitter Shaylee Rowland, who hit 19 home runs a year ago, walked three times before a run-scoring single in the fourth that ended the game on a run-rule.
Sallisaw (0-1) had five hits and thanks to a pair of Rougher errors had a brief 2-0 lead before MHS had the six-run first.
Muskogee is at Jenks on Thursday.