For the first time since 2012, members of the Lady Red Softball Team - Big Red - are taking part in the state playoffs.
The team earned their berth in the Class 4A games after they clinched the regional title in a dramatic 10th inning win in game seven at home against Blackwell on Friday, Oct. 6.
This is the last time Lady Red Seniors Megan Tramel, Katie Bunch and Lacey Rowe will play for the team before leaving to pursue their post high school careers.
• Katie Bunch
For Bunch, the state playoffs are filled with both excitement and sadness.
She said representing Grove at this level has been a blessing.
"Not many people have this opportunity," Bunch said.
As she enters the playoffs, she is sticking with advice she's been given in the past - "Give it 100 percent, because you only have that one time."
She's also relying on lessons taught to her by former Lady Red players Jessica Walker, Ashley Tramel and Taylor Dodson - "be confident in yourself."
Bunch said she hopes to be the same type of role model for the younger players on the team.
Bunch started playing softball in the second grade, in a coach pitch league. She said one of her best friends got her started.
Her first positions included right field and second baseman. Then one day she started to pitch - and the rest is history.
She said through it all - whether her team was the "underdog" or the "top dog", she's stayed committed to the game.
Bunch hopes to continue to playing softball in college.
• Megan Tramel
Softball has been a family affair for Tramel, who watched as her sister, Ashley played on the 2012 team.
She said entering this week's playoffs are sad in one way, but also a bit nostalgic since she was in eighth grade when her sister's team won the title.
Tramel said she's sticking with the advice, which reminds her there's "no second chances out on the field. Take advantage of every opportunity and work hard," as she steps out onto the field.
Her favorite moment this season came as the team faced off against Blackwell in the regional playoffs.
She said the state games will also serve as one final bonding moment with her team - one filled not only with competition, but also with having fun and relishing being in that atmosphere.
Tramel began the sport by playing T-Ball for two years, finding herself as a second baseman. She picked the sport up again, after a hiatus, in middle school, saying her family encouraged her to pick the sport up again.
"The whole team has been together and working for this since the eighth and ninth grades," Tramel said. "I'm grateful for the support."
She said she's also grateful for her parents support.
After softball, Tramel said she plans to focus on track, and her pole vaulting career.
• Lacey Rowe
As Rowe steps onto the state playoff field, she does so with a bit of sadness. She knows it will be one of the last times the team - which has become as close as family - will play together.
But she's also proud, because she knows going to state is a huge accomplishment for the Lady Red.
Rowe, who came into the team as a transfer student, said she's grateful for the help the coaches provided with her batting skills.
She passes on those skills, by helping the younger players with their batting, as well as working in the outfield.
Rowe said the team is close, and welcoming, admitting the girls often pick on each other.
Rowe began in the sport in T-Ball, then moved to third base and outfield as she got older.
Next fall, she plans to continue playing softball. She's committed to going to Western Oklahoma State, where's she's been given a full-ride scholarship.
More about State
Lady Red was scheduled to take the field against Lone Grove at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12, after presstime, in one of the first round games at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The winner of that pairing will face the winner of the Bethel/Hilldale game at 1:30 p.m. Friday, who were slated to play the first round game at 4 p.m., Thursday.
On the second half of the bracket, Newcastle will face Perkins-Tryon at 11 a.m., while Tuttle will face Broken Bow at 1:30 p.m.
The winners of those two games, will compete at 11 a.m. on Friday.
Big Red goes into the games 33-9 for their season. The playoffs take place at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, in Oklahoma City, where the Women’s College World Series is played.
The best eighth teams from the seven classes are slated to play during the series, in the multi-game, single elimination event.
In Grove's bracket the other teams include Newcastle, Perkins-Tryon, Tuttle, Broken Bow, Bethel, Hilldale and Lone Grove.
Lone Grove, the Lady Red's first opponent, is 28-5 in their season.
The team is coached by Jeremy Collins, Haley Deaton and Drew Osborn.
Watch www.grandlakenews.com, www.facebook.com/grovesun and @grovesunsports on Twitter for additional coverage of the Lady Red's time in the state playoffs.
Meet the 2017 Lady Red
Daughter of Jared Pair and Kelli Pair
Daughter of Brenda Jones and Rick Rowe
Daughter of Misty Deaton and Michael Pellegrino
Jaden Blaise Redus
Daughter of Brady and Amy Redus
Daughter of Brian and Tessa Elder
Daughter of Bryan and Gara Tramel
Daughter of Marty and Allison Bunch
Daughter of Mike and Kelly Sarwinsky
Daughter of Jill and Mark Cash
Daughter of Scott and Robin Malone
Daughter of Shelly and John Barnes
Daughter of Dustin and Lacey Fields
Daughter of Michael and Julie Pace
Daughter of Tina and Billy Busuee
Daughter of Allan and Debra Popp
Daughter of Matt and Debbie Outhier
Daughter of Donny Hargis
Outfield, 2nd Baseman
Daughter of Dawn and Rob DeZoete
Daughter of Jake and Abby Sumter
Left and Right Field
Daughter of LaBaby Warren and Jimmy Gonzalez
Daughter of Debbie Blake and Dewight Bryant
Daughter of Debbie Blake and Dewight Bryant
Daughter of Dave and Jennifer Edwards and Angie Edwards