An alumni game seemed appropriate for the Grove High School softball program and head coach Jeremy Collins.

Collins, who his eighth season as Lady Red head coach, sees it as an opportunity.

“I've been here for 13 years and we've never had one,” Collins said. “We've always focused on just getting the season started. We started a basketball one this last year, and before that baseball started one as well.

“It just gave me the idea that maybe we should have one for softball as well and bring back some former players that started the tradition of Lady Red softball. I decided to go with it and had some people that were interested so it just kind of evolved from there.”

The alumni game will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the high school softball field. Concessions, which will include smoked meat dinners, will open at 6 p.m.

The original plan was for the game to have former players going up against former players, but that could change.

“That was the plan,” Collins said. “But as of today (Sunday) we have 13 or 14 players committed so we may have to include some of our high school kids.”

Collins' current team will begin preseason scrimmages Tuesday when it travels to Verdigris. Grove will remain on the road Thursday with a trip to Kansas. The Lady Red will host Wyandotte and Commerce Friday morning.

There's a lot of optimism and excitement heading into the season.

The Lady Red return seven starters from a team that finished 28-9 last year. They posted late-season wins over eventual Class 5A state champion Pryor and 5A semifinalist Collinsville.

Grove will make the move down to 4A this season.

“I think everybody's goal is to obviously find a way to get to the state tournament,” said Collins. “That's something we've talked about in the past few years. We had a decent chance to get there last year but ran into a tough district in 5A.

“I think getting to the state tournament is a realistic goal for us. We're a little bit older and more experienced now and graduated just two seniors.”