Osceola Middle School’s Jessie Krall and Shaniya Davis are this week’s Big Lake Athletes of the Week for their performance in the Lady Warriors softball games over the last month.
Krall and Davis both hit home runs in separate games for the Lady Warriors, Krall against Moore Haven and Davis against crosstown rival Yearling Middle School.
Hitting a home run is a significant achievement for any player, whether in softball or baseball, but it’s even more impressive that Krall and Davis were able to as both are only in the sixth grade.
OMS softball coach Karen Cotton says both girls have had the opportunity to play travel ball, which has been essential in helping them develop as players.
Travel teams play softball for much of the year, playing in multiple leagues and tournaments around the area. Travel teams typically recruit players and hold tryouts, as opposed to recreational leagues which usually let anyone play as long as there is roster space.
“They both play travel ball, so they’re serious about their softball,” said Cotton of Krall and Davis.
“And now those kids who couldn’t play travel ball will be able to play softball in middle school to help the transition to high school.”
Cotton was referring to the fact that this marks the first year that both Yearling and Osceola have fielded a softball team, something she thinks will eventually go on to benefit the Lady Brahmans at Okeechobee High School.
“I think one of the biggest reasons these middle school teams came about was because there was no feeder program for the high school softball team,” explained Cotton.
Krall’s home run came against Moore Haven in a game the Lady Warriors would go on to win.
And although Davis hit her home run against a Yearling team that the Lady Warriors were leading all game, the Lady Bulls were able to outlast Osceola and pull off a wild 22-21 comeback victory.
Late-game comebacks seem to be a theme with Yearling this year, as the team pulled off something similar when they came back to defeat Oslo 4-2 on April 4.
The Lady Warriors won’t have to wait long to get another chance at the comeback-prone Lady Bulls, as the two teams will meet again on April 30 at OHS. The game was originally scheduled to take place on April 9, but had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Cotton says the girls on both teams are friends but it is a rivalry and the Lady Warriors are excited to play the Lady Bulls again.