By Nick Hampton
“When you watch Ella play you just know she’s someone who loves to play the game and you just don’t always see that in players these days.” That’s how Elk City softball coach Kaleb Murray describes sophomore shortstop Ella Sottile, a VYPE Top 100 player for 2022. “She hits leadoff for us, brings life to the team and is fearless. I think she’s one of the best shortstops in Class 4A and maybe the state, so I feel fortunate to have her on my team instead of having to game plan around her.”
Ella grew up watching her big sister Danni, who is now at Northeastern State, play softball and so it was natural for her to get involved as well.
“I started playing competitive softball with the Athletics out of Midwest City when I was eight. Danni has always been a role model for me because of the way she always competes and has always been there for me in anything I’ve done,” said Sottile who also plays basketball and runs the 400 and 800-meter races and the 300m hurdles in track for the Elkettes.
Every athlete needs someone behind the scenes to push them a little and for Sottile that person has been her father.
“My dad has always been my main motivator. He always takes me to hit and is always at my games.”
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Ella is also active in other school activities including being an officer in the Key Club, a member of the National Honor Society, in the student council and Project Aware and in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Though just a sophomore, she’s already got one highlight of her young high school career.
“We beat Tuttle for the first time in a long time earlier this season and that was exciting.”
Elk City returns all but one starter from last year’s team that was just shy of making the state tournament.
But that one starter is a familiar name and a hard one to replace according to Murray.
“Ella’s sister Danni was a standout in the circle when she was here and so replacing her has been tough. But we have a young freshman, Aubrie Pogue, who has stepped in and done a great job for us.”
The Elkettes are rolling along with a 16-4 record at this point and Ella is doing well hitting .450 with 26 hits and 15 RBIs and Murray is hopeful that Elk City will be able to move further in the playoffs this year.
“I think a key will be peaking at the right time. I thought we peaked too early last year, maybe because we played so many games in the summer, so we cut back on that this year. We want to be the team that no one else wants o play and we like that mentality.”