STERLING – It’s been 14 years since the Sterling Tigers won a state softball title, but longtime coach Marty Curry believes this season bring another golden trophy.
“We’ve got a chance to be very good,” he said. “We expect to be very competitive and return to the state tournament. We have a mixture of speed, power and we’re solid defensively. We do a lot of things very well.”
Sterling won its last state championship in 2007. Last season, the Class A Tigers were beaten 1-0 in the regional tournament. In 2020, Sterling advanced to the state semifinal round before being eliminated. Overall, Sterling softball teams have won five state championships and been runner-up four times.
Senior shortstop Emma Nunley will lead the Tigers followed by a “good group” of juniors that include third baseman Shelby Spence, pitcher Morgan Curry, centerfielder Ashlyn Clift, catcher Shelbi Pearson and second baseman Kenley Geiger. Sophomores expected to see considerable action include Lacy Spence and Kalleigh Budd.
The top returning hitter is Pearson who posted a .416 batting average last season with five home runs and 33 runs batted in. Clift finished with three home runs, 40 RBI, 24 runs scored and a .355 batting average. Meanwhile, Nunley had a .345 batting average coupled with 26 RBI and 44 runs scored. Shelby Spence was second in runs scored with 42.
Sterling starts the season Monday, Aug. 8 at Navajo, which will be a good test since Navajo qualified for the state tournament in 2021. The Tigers travel to Grandfield on Aug. 9 followed by the Central High Tournament Aug. 11-13.
Sterling’s first home matchup will be Aug. 18 against Binger. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.