By Alexandra Cannady |Staff Writer|
Coyote softball plans to surpass last years historical season beginning with their first game Feb. 3 against Cal Baptist University
The team performed admirably last season which concluded with a 34-23 record and regional playoff participation.
Head coach Tacy Duncan and assistant coach Tom Kajitani are preparing their team to end with a better record and advance to the national level this year.
“We had a lot of power last season but this year we have a lot of speed,” said Duncan. The team will play small ball by bunting and moving their runners into scoring position, utilizing their quickness on the base paths.
“Our main goal is to win,” said coach Kajitani.
Their roster is stacked with 18 women, six returning and 12 newcomers. The new arrivals consist of transfers and freshman, who according to Duncan, provide a vital contribution to the team.
Duncan expects returning players Alex Mitchell, Felicia Cervantes and team captain Courtney Wilhelms to use their experience and exceptional individual skills to provide team leadership.
“Cervantes is a great utility player. She can play every position making her very versatile,” said Duncan.
Duncan expects great success from Wilhelms.
Wilhelms was a starting pitcher as a freshman and later switched to second base. Although she found success on the infield, she will be starting the season as a pitcher once again.
She has a personal goal this season: “Becoming an All-American would be nice,” said Wilhelms.
Other returning players such as Carly Land, Britney Butler and Jaimie Leffingwell are expected to bring their best performances.
“Butler is known to have a good glove and be extremely fast in her position at shortstop. Land’s reputation precedes her as having a good changeup and a hard throw as a pitcher for the Coyotes,” said Duncan.
Leadership will not be restricted to captains.
“Leffingwell will also be a leader this season as a center fielder. She has a strong bat and a good arm,” said Duncan
The team has high hopes for what the new freshman and transfers will bring to the squad.
“Freshman Charlotte Galzote is an outfielder with speed and can run the bases with ease,” said Duncan.
Transfer Brittney Ybarra came to the Coyotes from Marshall University.
“She has fast batting and the ability to dominate third base,” Duncan stated.
The Coyotes participate in the NCAA Division II section and the CCAA conference. There are 10 teams in the conference and Duncan plans to defeat each of them.
UCSD is the first team on their radar. Beating them will be an excellent way to start the season, and provide the needed confidence to continue winning games.
Lately, they have been engaged in strenuous preparations on the diamond including 3-hour practices.
Women’s softball will be participating in two tournaments this season. The first being the Desert Stinger in Las Vegas, Nev. Feb. 10 and the CSUS Tournament of Champions in Turlock, Calif. March 30.
Last years historic run has motivated the Lady Coyotes to not only do it all over again, but advance further.