Not all local high school graduates went to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Fort Frye softball players' Nicole Miller and Devan Vaughn, along with head coach Barb Sleek, traveled to Oklahoma City, Okla., on Sunday, June 3, to view the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
"We started at Akron and then took a flight out of Pittsburgh (Pa.) to Wichita (Ks.)," said Sleek, who guided the Lady Cadet softball team to an 18-8 overall mark this past spring. "It's only about a two-hour drive to Oklahoma City from Wichita. We had a lot of fun."
BETH SMITH Special to The Times
Fort Frye catcher Nicole Miller directs traffic during a game this past spring. Miller, who will be attending Ohio Valley University in the fall, finished her career as a three-time All-Ohio honoree. This past season, she was first team.
Sleek said she had been to the World Series once before, four years ago, with her sister. But of course, this was a first time adventure for Miller and Vaughn.
"This is where the girls wanted to go, and they'd saved up their money for it," Sleek said. "It was kind of an alternate trip than going to Myrtle Beach."
In Oklahoma City, the trio stayed at lodging not far from the ballpark. With tickets for four games, they saw Oklahoma defeat Arizona State 5-3, and Alabama beat California 5-2 Sunday night. All of the games, incidentally were televised by ESPN.
Oh, yes, Miller, Vaughn, and Sleek were rooting for Alabama, especially for the Crimson Tide's talented, All-American sophomore hurler Jackie Traina.
When Alabama and Oklahoma hooked up for the first game of a best-of-three series on Monday, June 4, to help determine the national champion, Miller, Vaughn and Sleek were seated smack in the middle of a group of Sooner fans in right-center field.
"I thought we were going to get killed cheering for Alabama," said Sleek, laughing. "But those fans were really nice. In fact, they even gave Nicole and Devan a couple of Oklahoma T-shirts."
Oklahoma defeated Alabama 4-1 in Championship Game 1, but the following evening, the Crimson Tide evened the count with an 8-6 triumph, setting up a winner-take-all final Wednesday night.
With the championship softball games being played at night, the ladies from Beverly had some time on their hands, and were able to do some sight seeing, Sleek said.
"We went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum," Sleek said. "It was very solemn and emotional."
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is of course a place of honor and remembrance for the 168 people killed by Timothy McVeigh on April 19, 1995.
Unfortuately for Miller, Vaughn, and Sleek, they were not able to view in person the Alabama-Oklahoma title tilt on Wednesday as they had to catch a flight and return to Ohio.
That Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m., Miller and Vaughn played in the 31st annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) girls' all-star softball game on Lisa's Field at the I-470 J.B. Chambers Complex in Elm Grove, W.Va.
Ohio's best senior girls defeated West Virginia's, 10-1.
Completing the day, after nearly a three-hour rain delay in Oklahoma City, Alabama earned its first national softball title with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Oklahoma.
Needless to say, the Beverly trio was pleased.
It had been a very full day.
Miller, a three-time All-Ohio catcher with a .481 batting average in her senior season, will be attending Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., in the fall to continue her education (mathematics education) and play softball.
In the Fort Frye classroom, Miller owned a 3.9 GPA, Sleek said.
"Nicole was the catalyst, and benefitted the entire team," continued Sleek. "She's a coach on the field and gets everybody going. Since her sophomore year, she's called all the pitches."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org