MIAMI — Senior leadership will be a key for the Miami Lady Wardog softball team.

There will be five 12th graders in the lineup for MHS, which opens the 2018 season Tuesday, Aug. 7 against Coweta in a festival at Claremore.

Seniors in the lineup include pitcher Abby Ishmael, first baseman Jordan Davis, second baseman Jordan Quapaw and outfielders Lauren Willard and Alexa Payne all are multi-year starters for the Lady Wardogs, who were 17-10 a year ago.

“You can definitely tell these kids have played together,” Strack said. “That’s one of the downfalls, but a great thing. When you are starting freshmen, eventually they are going to be seniors and know what they are doing and it’s going to pay off in a few years. I am definitely hoping this is our payoff year.”

Miami finished fourth in District 4A-6. They had tied with Claremore Sequoyah for third with 9-5 records, but the Lady Eagles won the tiebreaker with a run differential edge.

They won the Bi-District 18 tournament. Mannford won 8-6 in the opening game but the Lady Wardogs came back with 15-8 and 6-2 wins.

They lost 6-2 to Hilldale in the first round of regional play then were eliminated by Checotah 7-6.

“Those seniors are awesome. They are the backbone of this team,” Strack said. “All of them have such different roles and do such different things for us that we have to have.”

Other seniors on the roster are Heidi Yokeley and Carsyn Payton.

Rounding out the Lady Wardog defense will be sophomore Beca Hopping at shortstop, junior Kori Robison at third and freshman Hannah Hardcastle in center field.

The Lady Wardogs tuned up for the opener with a Friday scrimmage against 5A Claremore.

That was their first time to play at Harley Turner Field, which for the second straight year has had several improvements.

“We played well. The energy was really good,” Strack said. “We did things right. We didn’t do things perfect, but we did things right.”

A new dugout, locker room and office on the first-base side are finished.

Still to be completed are a bullpen area and the roof on the visitors’ dugout.

“Our booster club has been amazing,” Strack said. “Anything I have asked for, its been done within 24 hours. It’s great.”