After sending multiple teams to the fast-pitch state tournament the past two years, south central Oklahoma should have gained a measure of respect from coaches around the state, as well as from the folks who decide playoff pairings.

But the coaches of two area small-school softball powers felt a little like the late Rodney Dangerfield in the respect department when the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association released its regional assignments Monday.

Although Tupelo will host its Class B regional Thursday and Friday, the fifth-ranked Lady Tigers will have to wade through a field that also includes No. 9 Whitesboro and No. 14 Eagletown. That draw is nothing, however, compared to the hand dealt a 10th-ranked Roff squad that enters the playoffs as hot as any team in Class B.

Kathy Gregson’s Lady Tigers will have to travel to Sasakwa for what should be an eventual showdown with the No. 2-ranked Lady Vikings for the right to advance to next week’s state tournament, and Gregson said she feels her club didn’t get the reward it deserved for a 21-11 season that ended a lot better than it started. Roff won seven of its last eight games, including a victory over 5A rival Ada and wins versus Class A powers Fletcher (ranked No. 7) and Keota (No. 5) at the Oklahoma Shootout at Hall of Fame Stadium two weekends ago.

“It’s discouraging, because what is the reward for being ranked and for playing the schedule we played if we don’t get the respect we deserved,” said Gregson, who took the Lady Tigers to their only fast-pitch state tournament in 2006 and lost in another tough regional to Coleman last year. “I think this is probably the toughest draw we’ve had since I’ve been here.

“I really thought they would send us west,” she said. “There aren’t many ranked teams over there, so I thought they would have to send a couple of us out there, but they didn’t. The No. 7-ranked team (Forgan) and the No. 8-ranked team (Binger-Oney) don’t have another ranked team in their regional.”

Sasakwa (29-3) has lost to one Class B school (Moss) this fall, and the Lady Vikings boast two wins over Tupelo. They haven’t faced Roff, but Gregson said she knows how tough a regional hurdle Sasakwa will be.

“We’ve watched them, and they’re tough,” she said. “They’ve got really good pitching, and they’ve got athletes. We’re just going to have to do the little things if we’re going to beat them.”

Tupelo coach Brian Davis echoed Gregson’s disappointment over the regional assignments, adding that his club doesn’t figure to have an easy game during the entire regional.

“That’s pretty tough,” he said. “We’ve played all of those teams (Caney is the fourth member of the field). We’ll have to play every game to win.

“Whitesoboro was in the top eight (in Class B) all year. We’re playing well, and it will help that the regional is here, but I’m disappointed that we got this kind of draw and some of the teams out west have it a lot easier.”

The area’s other Class B representative, Wanette, also faces a tough road, traveling to Moss (ranked No. 4) for a regional that also includes Butner and No. 15 Varnum.

In Class A, unranked Stonewall will, surprisingly, host a regional headed by No. 3 Velma-Alma (the Lady Longhorns’ first-round opponent at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and the team that eliminated Stonewall in the regionals last fall); in Class 2A, No. 6 Latta will be the favorite at home in a deep regional against No. 10 Dale, No. 12 Drumright and Wynnewood, and No. 8 Konawa (the defending 2A champion) will travel to Oktaha to face No. 11 Stroud and No. 13 Oktaha (the 2006 Class 2A champ); and in 3A, 14th-ranked Holdenville will be at Chandler for a regional that includes eighth-ranked Meeker, the host Lady Lions and Perry.

The Ada Lady Cougars learned they will be avoiding a trip to the Tulsa area for 5A Regional play for the first time in many years. Coach Scott Simpson’s club will venture to McAlester for a regional tournament that includes the rival Lady Buffs (ranked No. 6), No. 13 Tahlequah and Tulsa Edison.

“We got sent to Velma-Alma last year, so I guess our draw is about all we could ask for,” said Stonewall coach Christie Jennings, whose 19-12 club upset 15th-ranked Caddo last week to win the school’s fourth straight district title and will carry an eight-game winning streak into the regional. “I wasn’t expecting to host at all. We’re excited about it.

“It’s a good regional,” she added. “Velma’s pretty good, and Rattan is always solid. Calera upset Rock Creek in their regional.”

Latta (19-6) manhandled Vanoss in last week’s district round, and the Lady Panthers have been to the 2A fast-pitch state tournament the past two years. Veteran coach Jim Foster said he was pleased with his regional draw, despite the depth of the field.

“I think it’s a good draw,” said Foster, whose veteran club will meet Wynnewood at 1:30 in the regional opener. “We beat Dale in the regional last year, and they haven’t changed. The winner of (Thursday’s) second game (a 3 p.m. match-up between Dale and Drumright) is probably the team we’ll have to beat twice to win it.

“I didn’t expect to be home — I thought we’d have to travel,’ he said. “There’s always those lull times you can have, but we don’t want to have a bad game now. We just need to put three good games together.”

Konawa coach Jennifer Matthews, whose club lost just one game last fall en route to the 2A title, saw the Lady Tigers fall to 19-9 with Monday’s 8-0 loss at 3A No. 1 Washington. She said the defending champs will have to play better if they’re going to survive a rugged regional draw.

“It’s probably the toughest regional there is (in 2A),” Matthews said. “I don’t know anything about Foyil (Konawa’s opening-round opponent at 3 p.m. Thursday), but Oktaha and Stroud are no slouches.

“It all depends on what frame of mind we’re in,” she added. “If they want to be there, they’ll be there; if they want to do something else that day, we’ll stink it up. We’ve been up and down most of the season. We can’t stand prosperity, I guess.”