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    Originally posted by Crimson47 View Post
    Let's look at this another way.
    Does the Big 12 Tournament matter to OSU and or Texas*? If they do indeed want to try to win it, I think they would need to bring their best pitchers up against us-- Dolcini or Maxwell. But they face off against each other the day before. Lose that one and they're gone. The reason I ask if it matters, does it help (or hurt) their standing for Regionals? They both are probably locked in to go, and OSU for sure to host. The question is are they high enough on the food chain to host the Supers? Texas* probably isn't but OSU might be in spite of their 5 game losing streak. So it may matter more to the Cowgirls than Texas*. In that case I would think OSU throws Maxwell at Texas* and the longwhorns let the cards fall where they may. It would pit the Cowgirls against the sooners without their top pitcher (unless they use her back to back) but maybe that won't matter either since their resume would still be pretty good, with their only recent losses coming against teams rated higher than they are.
    Yea. That’s a great point. They need the seeding advantage…so yea maybe they do push their pitchers to exhaustion.
    Last edited by Me And My Butt; 05-09-2022, 06:23 PM.

    Comment


      Ok Stare wins this tourney and they may get a Super host. Very important for them.

      Comment


        Originally posted by RockFlagandEagle View Post
        Ok Stare wins this tourney and they may get a Super host. Very important for them.
        True. They are fighting for a Top 8 National Seed in this tournament. Make the Finals &/or win the thing should give them the boost to host throughout.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Me And My Butt View Post

          We weren’t talking about OU.

          We were talking about OSU and Texas pushing Dolcini and Maxwell…I.e., those schools throwing their aces three games in a row…or two nights in a row if they don’t lead with their aces in round one…which would be risky for both teams.
          Ah, I misunderstood. Same goes for them really. I'd be shocked if Texas makes any noise in the postseason, and fOSU can't take anything for granted...AND they have a pretty decent staff. I get the concern, but again, softball pitchers are used to it.

          Comment


            Cool view of the Boone to Hansen throw.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Crimson47 View Post
              Let's look at this another way.
              Does the Big 12 Tournament matter to OSU and or Texas*? If they do indeed want to try to win it, I think they would need to bring their best pitchers up against us-- Dolcini or Maxwell. But they face off against each other the day before. Lose that one and they're gone. The reason I ask if it matters, does it help (or hurt) their standing for Regionals? They both are probably locked in to go, and OSU for sure to host. The question is are they high enough on the food chain to host the Supers? Texas* probably isn't but OSU might be in spite of their 5 game losing streak. So it may matter more to the Cowgirls than Texas*. In that case I would think OSU throws Maxwell at Texas* and the longwhorns let the cards fall where they may. It would pit the Cowgirls against the sooners without their top pitcher (unless they use her back to back) but maybe that won't matter either since their resume would still be pretty good, with their only recent losses coming against teams rated higher than they are.
              I imagine if OSU wants a top 8 seed they need to win the tourney.

              Comment


                Saw this elsewhere & wanted to share it. Regional/Seeding projections for the softball tournament:

                The Regionals

                1 : Oklahoma - Stanford - Minnesota - Texas* Southern
                2 : Virginia Tech - Kentucky - Delaware - Saint Francis (PA)
                #3 Florida State - Mississippi State - South Florida - Canisius
                4 :Arkansas - Oregon - Wichita State - Murray State
                5 : Alabama - Georgia Tech - Utah - Louisiana Tech
                6 : Arizona State - Michigan - San Diego State - Grand Canyon
                7 : UCLA - Illinois - Loyola Marymount - Cal State Fullerton
                8 : Oklahoma State - Nebraska - South Dakota State - Princeton
                9 : Tennessee - Ohio State - Boston U - Miami Ohio
                10 : Northwestern - Missouri - Northern Iowa - Oakland
                #11 Duke - Georgia - Liberty - Morgan State
                #12 Clemson - Auburn - UNC Greensboro - USC Upstate
                13 : Florida - Notre Dame - Wisconsin - UMBC
                14 : Washington - Ole Miss - Weber State - George Washington
                #15 UCF - LSU - Arizona - UConn
                #16 Texas* - Louisiana - Texas* A&M - McNeese

                Comment


                  Originally posted by SoonernVolved View Post
                  Saw this elsewhere & wanted to share it. Regional/Seeding projections for the softball tournament:

                  The Regionals

                  1 : Oklahoma - Stanford - Minnesota - Texas* Southern
                  2 : Virginia Tech - Kentucky - Delaware - Saint Francis (PA)
                  #3 Florida State - Mississippi State - South Florida - Canisius
                  4 :Arkansas - Oregon - Wichita State - Murray State
                  5 : Alabama - Georgia Tech - Utah - Louisiana Tech
                  6 : Arizona State - Michigan - San Diego State - Grand Canyon
                  7 : UCLA - Illinois - Loyola Marymount - Cal State Fullerton
                  8 : Oklahoma State - Nebraska - South Dakota State - Princeton
                  9 : Tennessee - Ohio State - Boston U - Miami Ohio
                  10 : Northwestern - Missouri - Northern Iowa - Oakland
                  #11 Duke - Georgia - Liberty - Morgan State
                  #12 Clemson - Auburn - UNC Greensboro - USC Upstate
                  13 : Florida - Notre Dame - Wisconsin - UMBC
                  14 : Washington - Ole Miss - Weber State - George Washington
                  #15 UCF - LSU - Arizona - UConn
                  #16 Texas* - Louisiana - Texas* A&M - McNeese
                  Now wouldn't that put OU and Texas into a super regional at OU if the seedings hold? I thought they tried to avoid conference rematches outside the WCWS if possible.

                  And right now OSU getting a eight seed is...iffy.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post

                    Now wouldn't that put OU and Texas into a super regional at OU if the seedings hold? I thought they tried to avoid conference rematches outside the WCWS if possible.

                    And right now OSU getting a eight seed is...iffy.
                    Yea…they’ll seed and adjust to get matchups/avoid matchups and for geographic reasons.

                    Example if WSU had to face OU the last 2 years, they’d adjust to move them a step one way or the other in the bracket. It would be unfair to UAB to have to face Alabama every year…they want to let Florida and Georgia whoop UAB every few years too.

                    They typically don’t like to make Delaware travel to UCLA or Portland travel to Gainesville, etc. I.e., they make regionals somewhat regional by adjusting from the strict mathematical seeding.

                    And yes, they try to avoid regional conference matchups…but super regionals end up conference matchups quite often. OSU/Texas last year, Georgia beat an SEC team in supers last year.

                    Comment


                      I don't think there's any way OSU gets a top eight seed if they trip up and lose to Kansas. That would be six straight losses and a really bad one to end the season. Heck, a top-eight may a problem if they beat KU and lose to UT.

                      This new one-and-done format makes wildcard "anything can happen" scenarios really important. OSU finished with five losses to higher ranked teams. They're bottom of the league, but KU did play some good defense at times against OU that previous series. I think OSU was flat as a pancake against us and if they come out flat against a nothing-to-lose KU team...

                      Texas is fighting for a regional, but OU at Home makes that an issue because I don't think the committee likes to plot conference rivals in super-regional rematches. That means they've got to get to a 15 seed; but they got blown out by Baylor once last week and its a bad look amid a soso season.

                      I, for one, am *especially* pleased OU took care of business against OSU. The likelihood is that we face OSU or Texas if we don't stub our toe against the Baylor-ISU winner. I would like to see Trautwein have a solid outing in the tourney before the regional given she seemed a bit out of sorts against OSU.

                      Comment


                        If Nebraska wins the Big Ten tournament I think Texas is out of the running for a 16 seed unless they win the Big twelve.

                        Comment


                          Stanford won the series vs UCLA and ASU... I would rather not have them in our regional

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by nstinson View Post
                            Stanford won the series vs UCLA and ASU... I would rather not have them in our regional
                            Let someone else do the dirty work. I’d like a KU type bracket where the other good teams lose on the way. Once we get to OKC it’s sweep time.

                            Comment


                              So what’s all the hoopla with Donihoo? She off the team?

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Dagnorbert View Post
                                So what’s all the hoopla with Donihoo? She off the team?
                                They just reported that she won't be back "this season"....

                                Comment


                                  Here's a link to the Si story https://www.si.com/college/oklahoma/...am-this-season

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by Dagnorbert View Post
                                    So what’s all the hoopla with Donihoo? She off the team?
                                    She's been gone since early April. lots of unsubstantiated speculation, but reality is she's gone and highly unlikely to return.

                                    Comment


                                      When the comment is

                                      “You will not see her again this season,” Gasso said. “And that’s pretty much all I’ll say about it.”

                                      Yeah I don't think the exit was happy and smooth.

                                      Comment


                                        That stinks… I liked her fiery demeanor. Guess Gasso and her got sideways.
                                        Can’t battle a legend!

                                        Comment


                                          https://twitter.com/JesseCrittenden/status/

                                          Comment


                                            Still the Queens:

                                            https://twitter.com/SkullSparks/status/

                                            Comment


                                              Another 1 recruit/pitcher coming to Oklahoma. Her & Bahl together? Good luck to opposing offenses lol :

                                              https://twitter.com/BrianLa59228547/status/


                                              NATION'S TOP RECRUIT: East Forsyth softball pitcher Kierston Deal is the real dealKERNERSVILLE — How good of a softball player is Kierston Deal? The East Forsyth pitcher is the No. 1 recruit in the country in the Class of 2022, according to one website.

                                              But you don’t have to take ExtraInningSoftball.com’s word for it. When Deal decided to reopen her recruitment last summer, a number of the nation’s top programs jumped into the picture, including Texas and Arkansas.

                                              Those were some head-turning names for a high school player, but in college softball, there’s Oklahoma and then there’s everyone else. So when Sooners coach Patty Gasso called Deal, shortly after her program won its fifth NCAA title, it was as if Nick Saban had reached out.

                                              “We spent over an hour-and-a-half on the phone just talking and getting to know each other,” Deal says of that first conversation. “My mom was just kind of star-struck sitting beside me like, ‘Oh, my God. You’re talking to Patty Gasso!’ It was a very surreal moment.

                                              “I’m used to seeing you on TV and seeing how you interact with the girls and not actually talking to you on the phone,” Deal says she thought. “It was kind of my fangirl moment, but then my nerves settled down and I was able to have a good conversation with her.”

                                              So good that Deal eventually decided to flip her commitment to Oklahoma in September 2021.

                                              “At first, I just wanted to go to any school that was Division I,” she says. “Then, continuing to put in the work and going to bigger tournaments and camps and being able to compete with those kinds of girls gave me the confidence to think, ‘I can be here and I can hang with the big dogs.’ ”

                                              Now, Kierston Deal is not only hanging with them, she is the big dog.
                                              'This is who I am, this is what I do'


                                              At this time a year ago, Deal was known as one of the best high school softball pitchers in North Carolina, but she wasn’t on the radar nationally.

                                              What changed?

                                              Deal certainly didn’t. She’s the same intensely competitive left-hander she was during a junior season in which she led the Eagles to the NCHSAA Class 4-A championship series. Along the way, she struck out 292 batters in 136 innings and compiled a 0.64 ERA.

                                              “It’s her ability to compete,” says Ben McKinney, Deal’s coach at East Forsyth. “She hates to lose, and she will do whatever it takes to put herself and her team in a position to win. You can just see when she gets in the zone it’s almost like, ‘I dare anyone to try to get a hit off me.’ ”

                                              On the travel ball circuit last summer, the nation’s top talent evaluators and coaches got a chance to see Deal showcase her talents and her competitiveness in a way they couldn’t the previous summer at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deal had her coming-out party while was pitching for the Mojo – Fisher elite softball team out of Tennessee.

                                              “That was my first time on the big stage, going to Colorado and California with the Mojo team,” Deal says. “Almost everyone knew who Mojo was, but I kind of liked having the underdog feeling of no one knowing me because I could show everybody this is who I am, this is what I do.”

                                              At the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) 16U nationals in Huntington Beach, Calif., Deal’s Tennessee-based team rolled through pool play, but lost to the Texas-based Hotshots in eight innings in a matchup of unbeaten teams. Another loss would eliminate Mojo from contention for the Premier division championship of the prestigious tournament.

                                              “We had to come back the next morning and play three games,” Deal says. “We had to play one team, and then won that game and had to beat a team twice. I started that one and we got like a 6-0 lead, so I came out. The next game, I started and went eight innings and it was 1-0 and we won that game.

                                              “I was like, ‘OK, let’s go, y’all! One more game until the championship.’ I could just feel it. I was ready to pitch again.”

                                              After a few innings, Mojo’s starter in that game wasn’t ready to pitch anymore.

                                              She “was coming down with something,” says Deal, 17. “I’ll never forget, it was like the second inning and I was in the dugout and she walked some batters. Our coach was like, ‘Do you want to win it? KD, are you ready?’ I told him I was good. He said, ‘Do you want to win a national title?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir. I want to play for one.’ And we won to get to the final. I won two games back-to-back, and it was one of the most amazing feelings to make it there.”


                                              Deal’s team eventually lost to the Hotshots in a rematch for the title, but college coaches took notice of the 5-foot-7 pitcher from Winston-Salem. Deal had been committed to South Carolina since December 2020, but her performance at PGF nationals changed everything.

                                              “High school ball is very important, but it doesn’t always give you the competition you need to excel at an Oklahoma or even a mid-level college,” says McKinney, who is also the head coach of the Firecrackers travel program. “You have to put the time in on a travel ball team to get the best competition.

                                              “She started out with me and played in a few tournaments a few years ago, and she found out she could excel at that level, so she moved on to a team that plays at the highest level. She’s been very successful there, and that’s given her the confidence as well as the understanding of how to pitch to elite hitters.”
                                              The right stuff

                                              Billy “Chief” Gerald has been Deal’s private pitching coach since she was 9 years old and helped build the powerhouse North Davidson program as an assistant to the late Mike Lambros. Gerald’s pupils include former Forbush and UNCG pitcher Hannah Angel and two current college pitching coaches, Campbell’s Danielle Glosson (North Davidson/Southern Illinois) and Georgia’s Chelsea Wilkinson (Alexander Central/Georgia).

                                              When Deal began working with Gerald, “I saw she had a lot of natural athletic ability. She had the talent you need to be cultivated. I always look at the attitude of the kid. She was very coachable, very into it. She wanted to learn, and she practiced a lot on her own.”

                                              A lot of young pitchers have talent and work at the game of softball, but when Deal was 11 or 12, Gerald saw that she was quickly developing into a potentially elite pitcher.

                                              “I was teaching her how to manipulate the ball at that time … just trying to teach her to be a master of the ball and make it move more so than trying to throw it fast every time,” Gerald says. “She throws in the low- to mid-60s, and that’s her effective speed. She can throw faster than that, but she doesn’t need to because then she’s throwing through her breaks. … People say, ‘She’s only throwing 62 or 63.’ But if you throw it harder than that, the ball doesn’t break as hard.”

                                              When the softball comes out of Deal’s left hand, you can hear it better than you can see it. At the softball distance of 43 feet from the pitching rubber to home plate (17 feet, 6 inches closer than in baseball), the sound of the laces cutting through the air is almost a sizzle before it smacks into catcher Madison McCarty’s glove. The movement – upward or downward, in or out – is almost otherworldly.


                                              Deal’s repertoire includes that fastball, “a sharp breaking ball that comes in on right-handed batters,” Gerald says, “and she’s more likely to throw the rise ball up and in to you as her out pitch. If she wants to strike you out, she’ll throw the ball up and in to right-handed batters.”

                                              It will be Deal’s ability to throw off-speed pitches for strikes that will determine how successful she is at Oklahoma, which is 48-1 heading into this week’s Big 12 Conference tournament in Oklahoma City.

                                              “She has off-speed, but she realizes – and it’s been a work in progress – that she has to get her off-speed pitches to be a little bit more off-speed. That’s where she’s still improving,” says McKinney, whose East Forsyth team is 20-1 heading into the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoff opener Tuesday night at home against West Cabarrus (7-12). “She’s also getting better every time she steps in the circle at hitting spots.”

                                              When a softball pitcher reaches the level Deal has, the next step is refining her skills. McKinney says he’s seen her become better and better at locating pitches and knowing when not to throw too good a pitch.

                                              “Early in the season, we were talking about a pitch finishing two balls off the plate,” the Eagles’ coach says. “Sometimes what happens is the ball goes over the plate and finishes two balls off. We want a pitch to get the corner of the plate and finish two or three balls off the plate. Those types of adjustments that she’s able to make in-game now is something she didn’t have last year.”

                                              Next year at Oklahoma, Deal will be working not only with Gasso, but with one of the nation’s premier college pitching coaches, Jen Rocha. Gerald and Rocha talk frequently about the left-hander, and the Sooners assistant has told him she wants Deal “to work on her off-speed curve. She wants an off-speed pitch that’s developed by the time Kierston gets to Oklahoma. We work to that end all the time.”

                                              McCarty, Deal’s catcher this season at East Forsyth, has already seen her battery mate frustrate good high school hitters.

                                              “Some of them are just kind of down on themselves because they swung and missed at a ball that moved,” says the Eagles junior. “Sometimes they’re expecting a 60-miles-an-hour pitch and they didn’t get that and swung out of their shoes, and they’re like, ‘Dang it!’ That reaction is what makes it fun to be a catcher.”

                                              Next season, Deal and Leander, Texas, left-hander S.J. Guerin, also a top-20 recruit, will join an Oklahoma pitching staff that features freshman right-hander Jordy Bahl, who is 21-1 with a 0.95 ERA.

                                              “People say things like, ‘Is she good enough to go to Oklahoma?’ ” Gerald says of Deal. “She’s good enough for them to teach her to be that good. With Jen teaching, her learning won’t stop.”


                                              I'm still the same person'


                                              Deal believes she’s learned from the biggest disappointment of her softball career, East Forsyth’s loss to Wilmington Hoggard in last year’s NCHSAA Class 4-A championship series. “I still think about it quite a bit,” she says.

                                              East dropped the first game of the best-of-three series 1-0, won the second 1-0 in 10 innings and dropped the deciding contest 6-5.

                                              “It was a dogfight, with one-to-nothing games to a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh,” Deal says. “It was always back-and-forth, but I love those games. I live for those types of games! … A hit was like a home run that game.”

                                              McKinney says “that loss has stuck with me all year, and the same with KD. Every time we’d see each other we’d talk about it. We were one ground ball away from winning a state championship. Hoggard got the ground ball before we did. That’s how close we were.

                                              “Now, we’ve been in that position before. We know what it feels like. We know what it’s like to come up short. That has motivated Kierston like I never thought it could motivate her. She has that look in her eyes that nothing is going to stop us.”

                                              But Deal also knows when to dial down the intensity and have fun, and she understands that she’s already a role model to the young pitchers Gerald works with at his training facility in Clemmons.

                                              “I’ve called her and said, ‘I’ve got this kid who’s dying to meet you,’ ” the softball pitching guru says. “These little kids, she means so much to them and she always gives them time. She has left her home and driven over to my place just to meet a kid.”

                                              That’s just Kierston Deal being herself. She may be the top softball recruit in the country, but she’s still “K.D.” at East Forsyth.

                                              “I have a high standard for myself and then everyone has one for me, but I guess mine is always a lot higher … ” she says. “Dealing with that, I’ve had my family, my teammates and my coaches telling me I’m still the same person I was before the rankings.”

                                              KIERSTON MARGA DEAL


                                              Born: July 25, 2004

                                              Height: 5-feet-7

                                              Hometown: Winston-Salem

                                              Nickname: K.D.

                                              Parents: Michele and Tony

                                              High school: East Forsyth

                                              Year in school: Senior

                                              Position: Left-handed pitcher

                                              2022 stats (through Monday): Pitching — 16-1, 87⅓ IP, 0.72 ERA, 187 K, 18 BB. Batting — .531 BA, 4 HR, 9 2B, 2 3B, 23 RBI.

                                              College: Signed with Oklahoma.

                                              What they're saying about Kierston Deal

                                              "Kierston was a late find for us. She had great success in the travel ball circuit, especially this last season, and showed some dominance going through the PGF championship. She complements our pitching staff with her intense work ethic and focus. I'm really excited for what Kierston can do for us working with (associate head coach and pitching coach) Jen Rocha." — Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso

                                              “I told K.D. several times this summer that she is a kid that we will have on a lifetime contract. I could easily see her being in the dugout with us as a coach, if she chooses to do that down the road. Kierston has all of the intangibles that you look for and she leads by example both on and off of the field." — Mojo - Fisher coach Josh Fisher



                                              Comment


                                                Originally posted by SoonernVolved View Post
                                                Another 1 recruit/pitcher coming to Oklahoma. Her & Bahl together? Good luck to opposing offenses lol :

                                                https://twitter.com/BrianLa59228547/status/


                                                NATION'S TOP RECRUIT: East Forsyth softball pitcher Kierston Deal is the real dealKERNERSVILLE — How good of a softball player is Kierston Deal? The East Forsyth pitcher is the No. 1 recruit in the country in the Class of 2022, according to one website.

                                                But you don’t have to take ExtraInningSoftball.com’s word for it. When Deal decided to reopen her recruitment last summer, a number of the nation’s top programs jumped into the picture, including Texas and Arkansas.

                                                Those were some head-turning names for a high school player, but in college softball, there’s Oklahoma and then there’s everyone else. So when Sooners coach Patty Gasso called Deal, shortly after her program won its fifth NCAA title, it was as if Nick Saban had reached out.

                                                “We spent over an hour-and-a-half on the phone just talking and getting to know each other,” Deal says of that first conversation. “My mom was just kind of star-struck sitting beside me like, ‘Oh, my God. You’re talking to Patty Gasso!’ It was a very surreal moment.

                                                “I’m used to seeing you on TV and seeing how you interact with the girls and not actually talking to you on the phone,” Deal says she thought. “It was kind of my fangirl moment, but then my nerves settled down and I was able to have a good conversation with her.”

                                                So good that Deal eventually decided to flip her commitment to Oklahoma in September 2021.

                                                “At first, I just wanted to go to any school that was Division I,” she says. “Then, continuing to put in the work and going to bigger tournaments and camps and being able to compete with those kinds of girls gave me the confidence to think, ‘I can be here and I can hang with the big dogs.’ ”

                                                Now, Kierston Deal is not only hanging with them, she is the big dog.
                                                'This is who I am, this is what I do'


                                                At this time a year ago, Deal was known as one of the best high school softball pitchers in North Carolina, but she wasn’t on the radar nationally.

                                                What changed?

                                                Deal certainly didn’t. She’s the same intensely competitive left-hander she was during a junior season in which she led the Eagles to the NCHSAA Class 4-A championship series. Along the way, she struck out 292 batters in 136 innings and compiled a 0.64 ERA.

                                                “It’s her ability to compete,” says Ben McKinney, Deal’s coach at East Forsyth. “She hates to lose, and she will do whatever it takes to put herself and her team in a position to win. You can just see when she gets in the zone it’s almost like, ‘I dare anyone to try to get a hit off me.’ ”

                                                On the travel ball circuit last summer, the nation’s top talent evaluators and coaches got a chance to see Deal showcase her talents and her competitiveness in a way they couldn’t the previous summer at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deal had her coming-out party while was pitching for the Mojo – Fisher elite softball team out of Tennessee.

                                                “That was my first time on the big stage, going to Colorado and California with the Mojo team,” Deal says. “Almost everyone knew who Mojo was, but I kind of liked having the underdog feeling of no one knowing me because I could show everybody this is who I am, this is what I do.”

                                                At the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) 16U nationals in Huntington Beach, Calif., Deal’s Tennessee-based team rolled through pool play, but lost to the Texas-based Hotshots in eight innings in a matchup of unbeaten teams. Another loss would eliminate Mojo from contention for the Premier division championship of the prestigious tournament.

                                                “We had to come back the next morning and play three games,” Deal says. “We had to play one team, and then won that game and had to beat a team twice. I started that one and we got like a 6-0 lead, so I came out. The next game, I started and went eight innings and it was 1-0 and we won that game.

                                                “I was like, ‘OK, let’s go, y’all! One more game until the championship.’ I could just feel it. I was ready to pitch again.”

                                                After a few innings, Mojo’s starter in that game wasn’t ready to pitch anymore.

                                                She “was coming down with something,” says Deal, 17. “I’ll never forget, it was like the second inning and I was in the dugout and she walked some batters. Our coach was like, ‘Do you want to win it? KD, are you ready?’ I told him I was good. He said, ‘Do you want to win a national title?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir. I want to play for one.’ And we won to get to the final. I won two games back-to-back, and it was one of the most amazing feelings to make it there.”


                                                Deal’s team eventually lost to the Hotshots in a rematch for the title, but college coaches took notice of the 5-foot-7 pitcher from Winston-Salem. Deal had been committed to South Carolina since December 2020, but her performance at PGF nationals changed everything.

                                                “High school ball is very important, but it doesn’t always give you the competition you need to excel at an Oklahoma or even a mid-level college,” says McKinney, who is also the head coach of the Firecrackers travel program. “You have to put the time in on a travel ball team to get the best competition.

                                                “She started out with me and played in a few tournaments a few years ago, and she found out she could excel at that level, so she moved on to a team that plays at the highest level. She’s been very successful there, and that’s given her the confidence as well as the understanding of how to pitch to elite hitters.”
                                                The right stuff

                                                Billy “Chief” Gerald has been Deal’s private pitching coach since she was 9 years old and helped build the powerhouse North Davidson program as an assistant to the late Mike Lambros. Gerald’s pupils include former Forbush and UNCG pitcher Hannah Angel and two current college pitching coaches, Campbell’s Danielle Glosson (North Davidson/Southern Illinois) and Georgia’s Chelsea Wilkinson (Alexander Central/Georgia).

                                                When Deal began working with Gerald, “I saw she had a lot of natural athletic ability. She had the talent you need to be cultivated. I always look at the attitude of the kid. She was very coachable, very into it. She wanted to learn, and she practiced a lot on her own.”

                                                A lot of young pitchers have talent and work at the game of softball, but when Deal was 11 or 12, Gerald saw that she was quickly developing into a potentially elite pitcher.

                                                “I was teaching her how to manipulate the ball at that time … just trying to teach her to be a master of the ball and make it move more so than trying to throw it fast every time,” Gerald says. “She throws in the low- to mid-60s, and that’s her effective speed. She can throw faster than that, but she doesn’t need to because then she’s throwing through her breaks. … People say, ‘She’s only throwing 62 or 63.’ But if you throw it harder than that, the ball doesn’t break as hard.”

                                                When the softball comes out of Deal’s left hand, you can hear it better than you can see it. At the softball distance of 43 feet from the pitching rubber to home plate (17 feet, 6 inches closer than in baseball), the sound of the laces cutting through the air is almost a sizzle before it smacks into catcher Madison McCarty’s glove. The movement – upward or downward, in or out – is almost otherworldly.


                                                Deal’s repertoire includes that fastball, “a sharp breaking ball that comes in on right-handed batters,” Gerald says, “and she’s more likely to throw the rise ball up and in to you as her out pitch. If she wants to strike you out, she’ll throw the ball up and in to right-handed batters.”

                                                It will be Deal’s ability to throw off-speed pitches for strikes that will determine how successful she is at Oklahoma, which is 48-1 heading into this week’s Big 12 Conference tournament in Oklahoma City.

                                                “She has off-speed, but she realizes – and it’s been a work in progress – that she has to get her off-speed pitches to be a little bit more off-speed. That’s where she’s still improving,” says McKinney, whose East Forsyth team is 20-1 heading into the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoff opener Tuesday night at home against West Cabarrus (7-12). “She’s also getting better every time she steps in the circle at hitting spots.”

                                                When a softball pitcher reaches the level Deal has, the next step is refining her skills. McKinney says he’s seen her become better and better at locating pitches and knowing when not to throw too good a pitch.

                                                “Early in the season, we were talking about a pitch finishing two balls off the plate,” the Eagles’ coach says. “Sometimes what happens is the ball goes over the plate and finishes two balls off. We want a pitch to get the corner of the plate and finish two or three balls off the plate. Those types of adjustments that she’s able to make in-game now is something she didn’t have last year.”

                                                Next year at Oklahoma, Deal will be working not only with Gasso, but with one of the nation’s premier college pitching coaches, Jen Rocha. Gerald and Rocha talk frequently about the left-hander, and the Sooners assistant has told him she wants Deal “to work on her off-speed curve. She wants an off-speed pitch that’s developed by the time Kierston gets to Oklahoma. We work to that end all the time.”

                                                McCarty, Deal’s catcher this season at East Forsyth, has already seen her battery mate frustrate good high school hitters.

                                                “Some of them are just kind of down on themselves because they swung and missed at a ball that moved,” says the Eagles junior. “Sometimes they’re expecting a 60-miles-an-hour pitch and they didn’t get that and swung out of their shoes, and they’re like, ‘Dang it!’ That reaction is what makes it fun to be a catcher.”

                                                Next season, Deal and Leander, Texas, left-hander S.J. Guerin, also a top-20 recruit, will join an Oklahoma pitching staff that features freshman right-hander Jordy Bahl, who is 21-1 with a 0.95 ERA.

                                                “People say things like, ‘Is she good enough to go to Oklahoma?’ ” Gerald says of Deal. “She’s good enough for them to teach her to be that good. With Jen teaching, her learning won’t stop.”


                                                I'm still the same person'


                                                Deal believes she’s learned from the biggest disappointment of her softball career, East Forsyth’s loss to Wilmington Hoggard in last year’s NCHSAA Class 4-A championship series. “I still think about it quite a bit,” she says.

                                                East dropped the first game of the best-of-three series 1-0, won the second 1-0 in 10 innings and dropped the deciding contest 6-5.

                                                “It was a dogfight, with one-to-nothing games to a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh,” Deal says. “It was always back-and-forth, but I love those games. I live for those types of games! … A hit was like a home run that game.”

                                                McKinney says “that loss has stuck with me all year, and the same with KD. Every time we’d see each other we’d talk about it. We were one ground ball away from winning a state championship. Hoggard got the ground ball before we did. That’s how close we were.

                                                “Now, we’ve been in that position before. We know what it feels like. We know what it’s like to come up short. That has motivated Kierston like I never thought it could motivate her. She has that look in her eyes that nothing is going to stop us.”

                                                But Deal also knows when to dial down the intensity and have fun, and she understands that she’s already a role model to the young pitchers Gerald works with at his training facility in Clemmons.

                                                “I’ve called her and said, ‘I’ve got this kid who’s dying to meet you,’ ” the softball pitching guru says. “These little kids, she means so much to them and she always gives them time. She has left her home and driven over to my place just to meet a kid.”

                                                That’s just Kierston Deal being herself. She may be the top softball recruit in the country, but she’s still “K.D.” at East Forsyth.

                                                “I have a high standard for myself and then everyone has one for me, but I guess mine is always a lot higher … ” she says. “Dealing with that, I’ve had my family, my teammates and my coaches telling me I’m still the same person I was before the rankings.”

                                                KIERSTON MARGA DEAL


                                                Born: July 25, 2004

                                                Height: 5-feet-7

                                                Hometown: Winston-Salem

                                                Nickname: K.D.

                                                Parents: Michele and Tony

                                                High school: East Forsyth

                                                Year in school: Senior

                                                Position: Left-handed pitcher

                                                2022 stats (through Monday): Pitching — 16-1, 87⅓ IP, 0.72 ERA, 187 K, 18 BB. Batting — .531 BA, 4 HR, 9 2B, 2 3B, 23 RBI.

                                                College: Signed with Oklahoma.

                                                What they're saying about Kierston Deal

                                                "Kierston was a late find for us. She had great success in the travel ball circuit, especially this last season, and showed some dominance going through the PGF championship. She complements our pitching staff with her intense work ethic and focus. I'm really excited for what Kierston can do for us working with (associate head coach and pitching coach) Jen Rocha." — Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso

                                                “I told K.D. several times this summer that she is a kid that we will have on a lifetime contract. I could easily see her being in the dugout with us as a coach, if she chooses to do that down the road. Kierston has all of the intangibles that you look for and she leads by example both on and off of the field." — Mojo - Fisher coach Josh Fisher


                                                We had a young lady named Paige Parker that threw in the low to mid 60’s…but had ridiculous movement on the ball. She did pretty well. Almost sounds like they are describing Parker…I like that.

                                                Comment


                                                  all that money cult aggie spent on their new stadium a few years ago is really paying off!

                                                  they're ranked right behind Charlotte, Liberty and Illinois.

                                                  Comment


                                                    Originally posted by blackfrancois View Post
                                                    all that money cult aggie spent on their new stadium a few years ago is really paying off!

                                                    they're ranked right behind Charlotte, Liberty and Illinois.
                                                    Aggies just lost to Florida 4-1 in the SEC Tournament.

                                                    Comment


                                                      ole miss/uga pushing 1am local time in this last opening day game of the sec tourney.

                                                      Comment


                                                        Originally posted by Me And My Butt View Post

                                                        We had a young lady named Paige Parker that threw in the low to mid 60’s…but had ridiculous movement on the ball. She did pretty well. Almost sounds like they are describing Parker…I like that.
                                                        Man, a burner left-hander to go with Bahl.... unbelievable. I'm not sure people appreciate how amazing Gasso is as a coach and recruiter. She's built an absolute *monster* here.

                                                        Comment


                                                          Man, Baylor's starting pitcher just had to leave the game with an injured throwing hand in the bottom of the seventh, game tied and the winning run for ISU at third with two out. She tried to throw but couldn't. Not clear what the injury was.

                                                          Comment


                                                            Iowa State beats Baylor in eight innings, 2-1. They play OU tomorrow.

                                                            Comment


                                                              sec tourney went past 1am yesterday, and they might shoot for 2am tonight. today's second game was scheduled to start well over an hour ago, but miss state/tenn are still scoreless in b13.

                                                              Comment


                                                                Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post
                                                                Iowa State beats Baylor in eight innings, 2-1. They play OU tomorrow.
                                                                ESPNU couldn't have scripted that any better (or worse). They name the Baylor pitcher, Player of the Game, who immediately muffs a grounder. That leads to ISU tieing it up with the pitcher leaving the game due to injury.

                                                                Why they feel like they need to crown anybody before the game is over is beyond me.

                                                                Comment


                                                                  Originally posted by NoCalSooner View Post

                                                                  ESPNU couldn't have scripted that any better (or worse). They name the Baylor pitcher, Player of the Game, who immediately muffs a grounder. That leads to ISU tieing it up with the pitcher leaving the game due to injury.

                                                                  Why they feel like they need to crown anybody before the game is over is beyond me.
                                                                  And she was their top pitcher, too. She must have really had a problem in her throwing hand such that she couldn't control the pitches. She slammed her glove into the dugout as she came out. She'd pitched a good game to that point and I suspect ESPN never expected iSU to come back.

                                                                  Comment


                                                                    When do we play?

                                                                    Comment


                                                                      Originally posted by StroudSooner View Post
                                                                      When do we play?
                                                                      Tomorrow (Friday) vs ISU

                                                                      Comment


                                                                        Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post

                                                                        Man, a burner left-hander to go with Bahl.... unbelievable. I'm not sure people appreciate how amazing Gasso is as a coach and recruiter. She's built an absolute *monster* here.
                                                                        I'm leery because she's NOT a burner...optimistic tho...

                                                                        Comment


                                                                          Originally posted by Section31 View Post

                                                                          I'm leery because she's NOT a burner...optimistic tho...
                                                                          Well, I think of Lowery as a burner even though she didn't throw *fast* she could routinely burn hitters from that side. A really good left-hander is a huge asset to any staff and has to be a headache for those who will be facing her.

                                                                          Comment


                                                                            Originally posted by blackfrancois View Post
                                                                            sec tourney went past 1am yesterday, and they might shoot for 2am tonight. today's second game was scheduled to start well over an hour ago, but miss state/tenn are still scoreless in b13.
                                                                            Are they placing a runner on 2nd to start each half an inning being this deep into extra innings?

                                                                            Comment


                                                                              Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post

                                                                              And she was their top pitcher, too. She must have really had a problem in her throwing hand such that she couldn't control the pitches. She slammed her glove into the dugout as she came out. She'd pitched a good game to that point and I suspect ESPN never expected iSU to come back.
                                                                              I always thought Orme was their top pitcher, but maybe not.......or maybe just against us....

                                                                              Comment


                                                                                Bama choking a big one against Mizzou. 3-0 tiggers

                                                                                Fouts getting hit pretty easily.

                                                                                Comment


                                                                                  Originally posted by Sooner in SoCal View Post
                                                                                  Bama choking a big one against Mizzou. 3-0 tiggers

                                                                                  Fouts getting hit pretty easily.
                                                                                  That bama playing 2nd dropped an infield fly like a little leaguer would.

                                                                                  Comment


                                                                                    mizzou 3 outs away from shutting out bammer.

                                                                                    Comment


                                                                                      Pokes just beat Kansas 2-0. KU had tying run on in top of 7th but couldn't get it across.

                                                                                      Comment


                                                                                        Originally posted by blackfrancois View Post
                                                                                        mizzou 3 outs away from shutting out bammer.
                                                                                        Wow.

                                                                                        Comment


                                                                                          Originally posted by Crimson47 View Post

                                                                                          Are they placing a runner on 2nd to start each half inning?
                                                                                          no, but they should.

                                                                                          I think they said that was tennessee's longest game in school history.

                                                                                          Comment


                                                                                            Originally posted by blackfrancois View Post

                                                                                            no, but they should.

                                                                                            I think they said that was tennessee's longest game in school history.
                                                                                            Remember......we did that when we played them back in Feb at the Mary Nutter....
                                                                                            maybe they don't do that in the SEC.....???

                                                                                            Comment


                                                                                              Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post
                                                                                              Pokes just beat Kansas 2-0. KU had tying run on in top of 7th but couldn't get it across.
                                                                                              Nice try Jayhawks...

                                                                                              Comment


                                                                                                Originally posted by blackfrancois View Post
                                                                                                mizzou 3 outs away from shutting out bammer.
                                                                                                I'm not sure that I necessarily want Mizzou in our Regional.....or anywhere close to it.

                                                                                                Comment


                                                                                                  Originally posted by SoonerDave View Post
                                                                                                  Pokes just beat Kansas 2-0. KU had tying run on in top of 7th but couldn't get it across.
                                                                                                  Maxwell had 9 K's and 0 walks.
                                                                                                  Guess it's gonna be Morgan Day against the whorns tomorrow.....

                                                                                                  Comment


                                                                                                    That dumbass ump at 1st in the Mizzou bama game should be fired.

                                                                                                    She gets run over by a fielder catching a fly and a few minutes later she calls the bama runner safe at first when she was clearly out. Replay overturned her call.

                                                                                                    Final Mizzou 3 Bama 0.

                                                                                                    Comment


                                                                                                      Mizzou 3 Alabama 0 final

                                                                                                      Comment

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