More Flexibility, Speed and Power This Season
Western Nevada College Softball Coach Leah Wentworth has some new decisions to make this year as she nears the start of the 2013 season. Instead of worrying about having enough healthy players to fill her game rosters with the right skills in the right places, she is beginning the season with a full and healthy team that provides a broad range of skills and a high level of commitment.
Offseason recruiting and workouts have shaped a 16-player roster that will assist Wentworth and her three assistants in filling out the lineup card.“That’s what we always wanted. We’re excited,” said Wentworth, just days before the Wildcats begin their first official season workout on January 10. “This year, we have versatility and balance, a good mixture of speed and power.”
The team also has a lot of depth. “We’ll utilize them all to keep other teams on their toes,” said Wentworth, who is considering platooning players to give the Wildcats the best possible matchup offensively and defensively.
So, can the Wildcats top last year’s record-setting season and continue their climb up the SWAC standings?
“The girls have put their goals together for the season and set the bar extremely high,” Wentworth said. “They will be a tough team to beat on a consistent basis.”
Some pieces still are in place from the WNC team that posted the program’s first 20-win season a year ago. However, the Wildcats will need to replace most of their infield and find new offensive spark plugs to continue their upward progression.
Seven players return, including starting pitchers Alexia Alley and Ali Marie Lostra, and Scenic West All-Conference first-team outfielder Jennifer Quam. Alley and Lostra accounted for two-thirds of the WNC victories on the mound last year. Lostra crafted a team-best 5.44 ERA while winning six of her 17 decisions, and Alley led the club with eight wins and a 6.47 ERA while tossing a team-high 173 innings.
They will be complemented by workhorse freshman Carlee Beck from Layton, Utah, a second-team all-state and first-team all-region performer; freshman Alisha Nielsen of Orem, Utah, an all-region first-team choice; and transfer Ivette Garcia, who prepped at Spanish Springs High School in Reno.
Quam gives Coach Wentworth a leadoff hitter who can quickly turn a base hit into a run. The SWAC’s 2012 top base stealer finished among the nation’s top 10 by successfully swiping 57 bases in 61 attempts.
“We are so excited to have Jenny back,” Wentworth said. The sophomore out of North Valleys High School in Reno also was a dependable hitter. She stroked a team-leading 70 hits and finished with a .345 average in becoming WNC’s first player to earn SWAC first-team all-conference honors.
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