Hannah creates competitive softball league

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/23/2017 09:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Leslie Hannah looks on as a coach for an 8-and-under coach-pitch team in 2012 at the state championship tournament in Durant, Oklahoma. Hannah, the founder of the Northeastern Oklahoma Softball Association, has been involved in softball for 38 years. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Jennie Finch, center, a former professional softball player and Olympic gold medalist, talks with players at one of her camps featured on the Jennie Finch Softball camp tour. Her camp is slated to come to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in October courtesy of the Northeastern Oklahoma Softball Association. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Information regarding a Nike Softball camp coming in June to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, courtesy of the Northeastern Oklahoma Softball Association. Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Leslie Hannah serves as president for the association. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – For the past three years Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Leslie Hannah has ramped up competitive softball in the state as the Northeastern Oklahoma Softball Association’s founder and president.

Hannah has been involved in softball for 38 years as a certified professional umpire, but he founded NOKSA after his daughter joined Tahlequah’s recreational softball league.

After elected as league president, Hannah made changes with the league’s affiliation to play competitive softball.

“They (parents of league players) said they wanted a competitive league where we played for trophies and bids to state championship tournaments and things like that,” Hannah said. “That’s where Northeastern Oklahoma Softball Association was born, at that point. Back then it was called Cherokee County Girls Softball League.”

He said before NOKSA there were no leagues or organizations in northeast Oklahoma where youths could play competitive softball. Teams had to travel to other areas to play.

“Competitive means if you want a trophy you have to win it, and we’re not giving trophies anyway. We’re giving tournament entry to state championships. If you win this league, I will pay your entry fee to the state tournament championship,” he said.

NOKSA became affiliated with USA Softball of Oklahoma in 2014, and Hannah became deputy commissioner for Oklahoma’s northeast district. USA Softball is the governing body of the U.S. Olympic Softball team.

With the new affiliation, he said he plans to bring state championship youth fast pitch tournaments and softball camps to the area in 2017. In June, there will be a four-day Nike Softball Camp, and in October there will be a two-day Jennie Finch Softball camp.

“This is big time stuff. These things have never been in Tahlequah before. We’re going to fill up every hotel room in Tahlequah…one week for Nike and a weekend for Finch,” Hannah said. “I’ve seen the registration for both. There are people come from as far away as another continent for this. There’s some people coming from Australia for the Finch camp. So big time, big time stuff.”
Both camps are bringing college players and coaches, as well as professional players and coaches from the 2008 USA Olympic Softball team. The camps will help young girls enhance their softball skills, he said.

Hannah said his goal is for players to eventually get scouted by college coaches for the opportunities to play college softball.

“In essence, a lot of this got started because my daughter wants to play softball…I can help other people too by helping her. So that’s why I’m doing this,” he said. “My goal is to send these girls to play college ball, but they’ve got to be college ball material to do that.”

He said Olympic silver medalist Monica Abbott signed the first million-dollar contract to play professional softball in 2016. “Now you can become a millionaire playing a game just like the boys. That’s my motivation right there because I have a daughter…and she needs the same opportunity that the boys…have.”

Hannah said NOKSA also provides scholarship opportunities for Cherokee student-athletes.

“Anything to help them move forward because it’s a student-athlete, that’s what I’m focusing on.”

The Nike Softball camp will be June 5-8 at the CN Sports Complex for ages 8-18. The cost is $235 per camper for four days. Registration can be found at Click here to viewussportscamps.com.

The Jennie Finch camp will be Oct. 21-22 at the CN Sports Complex for third grade students and up. The cost is $205 per camper for two days. Registration can be found at jenniefinch.com.

For more information about NOKSA, visit www.noksa.org, email northeasternoksoftball@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/Northeastern-Oklahoma-Softball-Association.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏓ ᏦᎢ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Dr. Leslie Hannah ᏚᏩᏛᎭ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏳᎶᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏒ ᎤᏩᏛᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ.

Hannah ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎨᎳᏗᏙᎰ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᎾᎢ ᏗᎫᎪᏗᏍᎩ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᏩᏛᎮᎢ NOKSA ᎣᏂ ᎦᏳᎳ ᎬᏩᏖᎳᏛ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.

ᎣᏂ ᎦᏰᎦᏑᏱᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ, Hannah ᎤᏁᏟᏴᏒ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ (ᏧᎾᏓᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ) ᎤᎾᏛᏅ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏌᏛ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Hannah. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏒ ᎤᏕᏅᎢ, ᎯᎠ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎯᎠ ᎾᏂᏪᏎᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.”

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ꮟ NOKSA ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏥᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏙᏂᏢᎯ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢᎦᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏓᎾᏓᎪᏂᏍᎩ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ. ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏁᎪᎢ ᏗᏐᎢ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ.

“ᏓᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎨᏛᎬᎢ ᎠᏌᏍᏛ ᏣᏚᎵ ᏣᎩᏍᏗᎢ ᏣᏓᏒᎲᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏝᏃ ᏱᏙᏥᎲᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏓᏒᎲᏍᏗ.

ᎯᎢᏃ ᏙᏥᏅᏁᎰ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏱᏣᏓᏠᏏ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ, ᎠᏯ ᏱᎦᏈᏯ ᏣᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏓᎵᏁᎯᏛᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

NOKSA ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ USA ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᎾᎿ 2014, ᎠᎴ Hannah ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᎴᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎧᎷᏏᏂ ᎾᎿ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. USA ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙ ᎤᎭ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ Olympic ᏍᏆᏟᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ.

ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏤ ᏧᎾᎵᎪᎯ, ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬ ᏚᏭᎪᏓ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏍᏆᎶᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᎵᏁᎯᏛᎢ ᎠᏂᏓᎨ ᎤᏟᏍᏗ ᎤᏕᎦ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿᎢ 2017 ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏕᎭᎷᏱ ᎧᎸ, ᏛᏍᏆᎵᎯ ᏅᎩ ᎢᎦ Nike ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ camp ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏚᏂᎬᏗ ᎧᎸ ᏐᎢ ᏛᎠᏍᏆᎵᎯ ᏔᎵ ᏧᏙᏓᏆᏗ Jennie Finch ᏧᏙᎩᏓ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ camp ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ.

“ᎯᎠ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ Ꮭ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎤᏍᏆᎸᏓ ᏱᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏧᏂᏒᏍᏗ ᏕᎪᏢᏒ ᏙᏓᏲᏥᎧᎵᎳ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ….. ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ Nike ᎠᎴ weekend ᎾᎿ Finch,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Hannah. “ ᎠᎩᎪᎯ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᏃᏪᎳᏅᎯ ᎢᏧᎳ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎾ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᏐᎢ ᏙᏗᎦᎶᎨᏒ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏍᏆᏂᏯ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ. ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ Australia ᎾᏍᎩ Finch camp. ᎤᏔᏂ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᏛᏍᏆᎸᎯ.”

ᎢᏧᎳ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏓᎾᏘᏃᎯᎮᏍᏗ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃᏊ ᎠᏂᏏᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ 2008 USA Olympic ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ. ᎯᎠ camp ᏙᏛᏍᏕᎸᎯ ᎨᎳ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Hannah ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏚᏭᎪᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏧᏂᏃᏩᏛᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎬᏩᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎬᏩᎾᏑᏰᏍᏗ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ.

“ᎤᎪᏛᎯ ᎯᎠ, ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎾᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏆᏤᎵ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏧᏁᎶᏗ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ…. ᎡᎵᏊ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎦᎦᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏇᏥ ᏥᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎯ ᎯᎠ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᏆᎵᏐᏯᏍᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏥᏌᏙᏯᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ.”

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Olympic silver medalist Monica Abbott ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏱ million—dollar ᏚᎾᏓᏁᏤᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᏧᏁᎶᏗ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ 2016 ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. “ᏃᏊ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎵᏊ millionaire ᏱᎾᎵᏍᏓ ᏕᎭᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏓᏊᎪᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᏳ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏇᏣ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ…… ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎤᏜᏅᏓᏛ ᎾᏃ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ…. ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.”

Hannah ᎤᏛᏅ NOKSA ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᎪᏍᏩᏙᏗ ᎬᏩCᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.

“ᎢᏳᏍᏓᏊ ᎦᎦᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩᏅ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᏍᏗ ᎦᎦᏎᏍᏗᎬᎢ.”

ᎾᏍᎩ Nike ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ camp ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ June 5---8 ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎾᎿ CN Sports Complex ᎾᎿ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ 8—18. ᏚᏂᎬᏩᎶᏛ $235. ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏙᏓᏩᏗ. ᎪᏪᎶᏗ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎠᏩᏛᏗ ussportscamps.com.

ᎾᏍᎩ Jennie Finch ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ ᏚᏂᏃᏗ 21—22 ᎾᎿ CN Sport Complex ᎾᎿ ᏦᎢᏁ ᏗᏂᏂᏙᎯ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᏟ ᏗᏂᏂᏙᎯ. ᏚᏂᎬᏩᎶᏛ ᎾᎿ 205. ᎠᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏧᏙᏓᏆᏗ. ᏗᎪᏪᎶᏗ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎠᏩᏛᏗ jenniefinch.com.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵ ᎾᎿ NOKSA, visit www.noksa.org, email northeasteroksoftball@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/Northeastern--Oklahoma---Softball-Association.

About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...

People

BY BILL HAISTEN
Tulsa World
10/26/2020 10:53 AM
The former Sequoyah High School player ...

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/23/2020 02:59 PM
Cherokee Nation citizen earns...

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
10/23/2020 08:37 AM
Richard D. Osburn previously w...

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
10/21/2020 09:14 AM
Andrea Nichols, a Bureau of Indian Affairs rangeland ...

BY STACIE BOSTON
Multimedia Reporter
10/19/2020 08:13 AM
Robert J. Conley is being recognized...

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/01/2020 05:55 PM
Cherokee was Jim Buckhorn’s fi...