LITTLEAXE — It’s national signing day and everybody wants to know if Bob Stoops has replenished the Sooner cupboard with strong enough, mean enough and physical enough defensive tackles because so much goes through them defensively and, for two years now, just about everything has gone through the Sooner defense.
Of course, there will be time to figure that out. If not next season then the next one and the one after that, when Wednesday’s latest prospect class might finally be accurately judged.
Still, instead of digging deep toward Owen Field, say hello (and, sort of, goodbye) to Andee Frazier.
She does not play for Oklahoma nor is she going to. She’s not even from Norman High or Norman North, nor any other Class 6A program.
She’s from Little Axe. She pitches. And, just maybe, no area athlete around here over the last 15 years has enjoyed the same success she has.
In the midst of so much signing day hoopla, Frazier’s the perfect person to catch up with because, though football may be everything, it is not the only thing.
There are so many signing day stories and Frazier’s deserves to be told.
She has signed to pitch and maybe hit a little bit, too, for the Kangaroos of Missouri-Kansas City of the Summitt League.
The ’Roos were 27-30 last season and their best pitcher, Deanna Friese, put together an earned run average of 3.00. She’s back this season, but a senior, so just maybe Frazier will have the chance to become the ’Roo in the circle something like she’s been the Indian in the circle these last few years.
Yes, it’s hard to compare Frazier to Ryan Broyles, Jordan Evans or Billy Bajema, or Nate Boylan, Taylor Hardeman or Britney Brown, or even Anne Remy, Russ Coleman or Brandon Little Axe. But she did win three state titles, in a row, throwing every pitch of every inning her team played at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Whatever company of high school athletic greatness you want to keep, her presence only props it up.
Get to know her.
“I literally grew up only thinking about softball,” she said. “To this day, I don’t know what I really want to do once I get to college, because all I’ve ever thought about is playing softball.”
It’s kind of cool, because it’s hard to trust anybody who has their life all mapped out before they’ve picked up their first syllabus. Also, it’s kind of cool that her ticket to college is softball and it’s likely there, where softball will have taken her, where she’ll figure out her life beyond softball.
Sounds like fun.
It will happen even as softball takes her places she’s never been, like all the stops in the Summitt League — Denver, Ft. Wayne, Ind., Indianapolis, Fargo, Oakland County, Mich., Omaha, Brookings, S.D., Vermillion, S.D., and Macomb, Ill. — and Hawaii, too, a trip the ‘Roos take semi-annually.
“I hate to leave,” Frazier said, “but I can’t wait to get there.”
She throws a fastball, a changeup, a sinker, a curve, a screwball and a riser and throws them all for strikes, though she admits to wishing she would throw her changeup for more strikes.
Yet, while a buffet line of pitches is helpful, it’s still mostly tangential to the success she’s helped create for coach Mike Bread’s Indian softball program.
“She’s always had this ability, and I don’t think it’s anything you can coach; it comes along with your personality and how you get yourself ready,” Bread said. “One thing I’ve always noticed about Andee is that kids around her and behind her really want to play behind her.”
Because she has no fear. Because, though immersed in the game she is nonetheless relaxed. Because she smiles through it all and doesn’t need her hand held.
“It allows those players to concentrate on their job,” Bread said. “I think that’s a huge thing, because you don’t always see that.”
She pitched the Indians to three state titles. She was one of the best bats on the team, too. She finished her senior season with a 1.00 earned run average and 355 strikeouts in 239 innings. And she was at her best under pressure, which explains why Bread once interrupted a perfect game she was throwing to tell her she was throwing it.
She finished it.
She has a few more months of school, most of summer, then she moves, to a great city, a fine university and a softball program she’ll try making great.
“I’m going to have to rebuild and start over,” Frazier said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve always been pretty good with challenges.”
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