Guthrie High School softball standout Karrah Dean wasn’t supposed to end up at Oklahoma Christian University. The All-State softball player was expected to travel about six hours north to continue her playing career. But after a coaching change, a trip to Colorado, and a quick recruiting pitch, Dean realized her new home is right down the road from her old home.
Dean was originally committed to attend the University of Omaha Nebraska to play softball under Maverick Head Coach DJ Sanchez. Sanchez, a former All-American pitcher at Oklahoma, stepped down from her coaching duties after two seasons at UNO. The coaching change led Dean to reopen her recruitment, opening the door for other schools.
“I was committed to the University of Nebraska in Omaha but there was a coaching change there. I had a really good bond with coach Sanchez but she decided she didn’t want to coach anymore, so I decomitted. She ended up setting me up with Coach (Shanon) Hays because Oklahoma Christian was getting a whole new coaching staff.”
After linking up with Hays, Dean went to a tournament in Colorado where Hays offered her a scholarship on the spot. It took Dean the car ride home to make up her mind.
“It was all so exciting, it happened so fast,” Dean said. “It happened within a week. I went to Colorado and he offered me there and then I came back home and committed. It didn’t take me long at all, I knew right away.”
Dean was Oklahoma Christian’s first softball player to sign with OC during the November signing period. Coach Hays says signing Dean was a must for this class.
“Karrah is a big sign for us,” Hays said. “She was a heavily recruited kid and our first commit. Besides being a good pitcher, she is an excellent first base and hitting prospect. She will need to fill some big shoes with the graduation of Kaylie Upton. She is the perfect fit here at OC. I’m looking forward to watching her compete here for four years.”
Karrah had an exceptional senior season, leading the LadyJays to a 23-6 record and a berth in the Class 5A state tournament this fall. She was 12-2 inside the circle with a 1.83 ERA with 129 strikeouts. She hit .557 at the plate with 10 home runs and 39 RBIs. In the postseason, Dean elevated her game, throwing a no-hitter, winning two games while striking out 36 batters.
Her performance this season, as well as her career as a LadyJay, helped her land a full ride to Oklahoma Christian. The scholarship along with being so close to home ended up being the deciding factors for Dean.
“Omaha is six hours away and me and my mom are so close, there was no way that I could’ve left her,” Dean said. “Thirty minutes away from home is really good. Plus, I have had pitching and hitting lessons there my whole life, so I know Oklahoma Christian like the back of my hand. It’s home.”
There is no word yet on if Dean is expected to start right away or if she’ll have to work her way into the line up, but she is hard at work preparing herself for the next level with travel ball and working out to get ready to play.
It’s been a busy month and half for Dean, who pitched in the state tournament, earned an All-State selection, and fulfilled a dream of playing at the next level. She says she’s pretty content on how things are panning out for her right now.
“I’m just really happy with where I’m at softball wise,” Dean said.