By Addi Howery
Sports are a good way for people to stay active and healthy, and they are also a good way to get a scholarship to a college. Okeeheelee has a wide range of sports to participate in and try out, and some of the teams have done quite well this year, making it to the playoffs.
Okeeheelee fielded strong baseball and softball teams this year. The season for both sports begins at the start of the year, with tryouts in August.
The boys baseball team did a good job, making it to a playoff game. Coach Chris Bischoff said he and coach Jon Paul Estupinan were proud of the team’s playoff performance against Duncan Middle School on Oct. 21.
“We started the game with our backs against the wall, losing 3 to 0 in the first inning. Before you knew it, it was 6 to 0 in the top of the sixth inning, and we were down to our last three outs,” Bischoff said. “Finally we came alive and had three hits in a row. Now, it was 6 to 1, and men (were) on second and third with no outs. We scored two more runs with a man on third and one out and our best hitter up.
“Unfortunately, we could not score anymore, and it ended 6 to 3. As coaches, JP and myself were pleased that the team did not just give up. They fought to the very end and gave Duncan a scare in the last inning.”
Another fantastic sport at Okeeheelee is girls softball.
The softball team went undefeated in its regular season, but was defeated at the first playoff game. The Warriors played Independence Middle School at home on Oct. 27, losing 11-1.
“The Warrior defense had too many errors,” coach Maureen Hanley reported. “Some highlights of the game were a diving catch by Erionna Perez, and a double hit by Adoniah Howery.”
Lacrosse is the next sport at Okeeheelee that may fascinate many of you. Lacrosse season starts in
March, and tryouts begin in February. “However, we are currently meeting every Tuesday to learn basic skills and conditioning,” coach Eric Lewanda said.
“Many students never played lacrosse before and have no experience, so this is a great way to get acquainted with the sport,” he said. Lewanda is looking for kids who are athletic, have good sportsmanship, and are willing to learn the sport.
Basketball for both girls and boys starts this month. Girls basketball starts in the middle of January but conditioning began on Jan. 6th. Coach Gregory MacMillan is looking for girls who are good on the court and generally athletic. He’s also looking for students who do well in the classroom and behave well, representing Okeeheelee as good students and team players.
Tryouts for boys basketball are taking place in January.
“Those wishing to try out must get physicals, have insurance and complete the athletic eligibility packets found in all grade level offices,” coach Nathan Wellman said.
Girls soccer also started this month. Tryouts were set for January 4-14.
“You have to like to run a lot to play soccer,” Coach Kristina McMillon says.
She was looking for 18 girls for her team but only 11 of them will be playing during a game. The girls have to have potential, be athletic, show good sportsmanship, and love the sport, she said.
Just as the girls are starting up, boys soccer was finishing up.
In December, the boys were thrilled to secure a spot in the playoffs, praising centermid player Omi Alvarado for making it possible. “He shot from half field, and it went over the keeper and into the goal” in a Dec. 14 game against
Palm Springs, player Eros Garay said.
“Palm Springs scored a last-minute header, and there was no time left, so I asked coach if I could shoot from half field,” Alvarado said. “I shot and scored it. If we would’ve lost we would not have gone to playoffs.”
They tied 2-2 with Palm Springs, then beat Congress 6-0 on Dec. 17.
“It’s fun,” eighth-grader Brando Marcus said. “We’re determined to win every game.”
The team finished its regular season with seven wins, two losses, and a tie, but lost its Jan. 7 home playoff game against Don Estridge 1-0, coach Edgar Navarette said. He didn’t single out any one player, saying the games are “a team effort.”
The girls volleyball had a mostly winning season. They returned from winter break to play Congress Middle to determine whether they’d earn a spot in the playoffs. The two teams had to play because they were tied. “The girls have been working hard and they have the skills to win, but they need to work on some things,” coach Liza Asch said going into the game.
On Jan. 6, the girls lost to Congress. Asch told the team, “It was a good game, and you girls worked hard, and I hope to see some of you girls next year.”
The season, which started in October, ended with the girls winning seven games and losing three.
Ahyoung Song contributed to this story.