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Tushka Slowpitch Softball Finds A Way To Win – Presented by Subway-Atoka

From August until mid-May, members of the Tushka softballteams start and end every day with one goal in mind.

“It’s nothing flashy, no secrets, these kids just work hard,” explained coach David Durbin, who after 15 years guiding the program has turned in the scorecard. “They all come from families that work hard and these girls just bring their lunch pale and do whatever it takes to win with a blue collar approach.”

When the pairings for the 2023 Class 3A slowpitch state tournament were released, it was no surprise to see the Lady Tigers among the final eight teams chasing the state title.

“We haven’t missed the spring softball state tournament since 2010,” Durbin said with pride in his player’s results. “We won it in 2013 and 2015 and were runner-up in 2017 and 2018. The foundation of Tushka softball is something this year’s team continued to embrace with their grit and determination to find a way to win.”

This spring, the refuse to lose approach resulted in Tushka compiling a 26-8 record as the number-5 ranked Lady Tigers advanced to the 3A state semifinals.

“We won 17 of our first 20 then hit a little bump,” Durbin said while recalling his “swan song” journey. “It was during that five game stretch where we battled through some injuries. Thanks to our depth, the girls put all the pieces together and wouldn’t be denied a trip to state. The win over Morrison in the opener was special. They had beaten us the last two years including last year in the semifinals.”

Another trip to the state tournament was special for the four seniors on this year’s Tushka roster including All-State selection Larmie Rains (1B), Laren Traylor (P) along with Ruthie Goodson and Alyssa Lowrie.

“Only Covid kept our seniors from having four trips to the spring softball tournament,” Durbin said noting the 2020 season that was cancelled by the pandemic.

Meanwhile the work continues for the underclassmen that played key roles in 2023 including four juniors Jaden Huffman (SS), Rebecca Ridgway (Rov), Haylee Griffin (RCF) and Taylor Dodd (UTL) who will reunite with sophomores Chanci Alford (LF), Emma Burkhalter (3B) and Beya Simon (RF) as well as freshmen
Callie Boren (2B), Kyra Jones, Raynee Reece, Meadow Richie and Kylee Webb.

“I’m proud of what our teams have accomplished in the spring and fall seasons. The wins and championships were the result of the kids’ efforts,” said Durbin. “What I cherish just as much as anything is the grit, determination and hard work approach these kids and others before them employed everyday, on and off the field. They’re all tough minded definitely united in their efforts.

It’s what we call Tushka Kids, mess with one and you get us all.”

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