GRANBY — East Newton senior Natalie Oxendine joined the ranks of a pair of former softball teammates when she inked her letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kansas.
Oxendine’s former high school teammates now at Labette are incoming freshmen Jaylen Hayward and Kinsey Sorrell, who signed with the Lady Cardinals last year. The Lady Cardinals are coached by Neosho native Ryan Phillips.
Oxendine, who earned all-Big 8 Conference second team at pitcher during her senior season, started all four seasons for the Lady Patriots (their workhorse pitcher her last two seasons) and she played a key role in the school-record 15-win team of 2017. She leaves East Newton as one of the leaders in most pitching categories at the school, including career innings pitched, victories, strikeouts, and complete games.
Oxendine excelled both on the field and in the classroom during her time at East Newton.
The Lady Cardinals have been very successful during recent seasons, namely back-to-back Region 6 champions in 2015 and 2016. Labette reached the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Clinton, Mississippi, in both seasons.
Labette finished 14-24 overall last season and 11-11 in Jayhawk Conference play. The Lady Cardinals were eliminated 2-1 in a best-of-three opening round playoff series against Neosho County. Labette took four losses against Crowder last season, as the schools traditionally play a home-and-home every season.
Last season’s Labette roster included former Neosho standout Emily Harrell and former McDonald County stalwart pitcher Paige Jones.
This coming season’s Lady Cardinals feature not only former East Newton players Hayward and Sorrell, but former Seneca speedster Adron Durman, all three entering their freshman season.
The Lady Cardinals currently have only six sophomores on their 2019 roster.