Four years ago, Community Christian School assistant softball coach Jeff Cox told head coach Gary Rayburn about a pair of exciting developments for the fledgling program.
First, Cox had talked an ex-OU player into coming out to instruct the team's pitchers. Second, the program would soon have a couple of new players who were coming to CCS from another school.
“In walked these two girls and they've got on the full softball regalia,” Rayburn said. “They've got the uniforms and the backpacks with two bats sticking out. I just assumed the bigger one was the OU girl and she'd brought along one of their younger players with her to help.”
That was Rayburn's first introduction to his new catcher, Niki Davidson.
Rayburn had pieced together a team of mostly cheerleaders, many of whom had little experience playing softball.
This week, with Niki as a senior and her sister, Lacey, as a sophomore, CCS enters its first playoffs as members of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. The Royals start district play at 2 p.m. Thursday at Wayne.
“I have to go to the band room and cheer room every year just to have enough kids to play,” Rayburn said. “I think it's fair to say we wouldn't have a team if it wasn't for her.”
Niki and Lacey had been playing competitively for several years already, and Niki quickly became the best player on the team.
It was a balancing act for Niki, helping the other players — many older than she was — while still fitting in as a teammate.
“At first, I thought there might be a problem,” Davidson said. “I just had to find the balance of helping but not being too bossy. I try to do the best of acting like an equal on this team, especially my junior and senior year, I've grown up a little bit. It took me awhile to realize how to handle the situation.”