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High school slowpitch softball: Dale's Delanie Manning adjusting to opponents' approach

Dale's Delanie Manning hits during the fastpitch state tournament in October. [Photo by Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
Dale's Delanie Manning hits during the fastpitch state tournament in October. [Photo by Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Dale coach Andy Powell is looking for any option that will work.

His star senior Delanie Manning is rarely — if at all — seeing a pitch to hit this spring.

He’s moved her around the order. He’s moved players around her. Still, Manning is getting intentionally walked nearly each time.

“I don’t know,” Powell said. “I’ve been leading her off, hoping she’d get an at-bat that way. She’s just so known for home runs I don’t know if she is going to get anything to hit or not. How she handles it is going to be important.”

Last spring, Manning dominated the state with a .771 batting average, 45 home runs, 94 RBIs and 105 runs scored while leading the Pirates to a third straight state championship. She was The Oklahoman's All-City Player of the Year.

This spring, she’s trying not to force things when opponents want no part of her. She entered Friday with just two homers.

Manning, a Seminole State signee, spoke with The Oklahoman about her approach and he future.

Q: You’ve seen very few at-bats this spring with teams opting to walk you instead. How are you handling that?

A: “I just know that when they walk me, it’s seriously pick your poison. They can hit right behind me.”

Is that frustrating for you?

“At times, yeah. It’s frustrating when you walk so many times and then your last at-bat they let you hit, and then you stink. It’s like, ‘Well, darn.’”

You must rely on your teammates a lot. How much do you try to encourage them?

“Just coming back in the dugout bringing that energy. I think they all know it too. They know I’m going to get walked, so they have to look at it like they have to step up to. We just have to hit line drives because it’s wild.

You have a chance to win a fourth straight slowpitch title. How big would that be for you to win a title each year of your career?

“It would be something that I can look back on it and be so proud of my team and my coaches, and even come back next year and hopefully watch them do the same thing.”

You’re headed to Seminole State, but had other chances elsewhere. Why there?

“Seminole’s like home. I’m raised in Prague, which is not too far. When I started my freshman year I was planning on going far. When it got to my senior year, I decided I wanted to stay close to home. I wanted to go somewhere big at first, looking at OSU and several (other Division I schools) I had, but I wanted to get that experience first of two years (at a junior college).”

Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›