By Rick Mauch — Special Contributor
The first season of softball at Weatherford College was, as one might expect, a memorable one — but not just for historic reasons.
The team was a winner in its debut. In fact, the Lady Coyotes were one of the better teams around, finishing with a 35-24 record and taking third in the tough North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC).
The WC women also proved to be a force in the postseason, splitting their four games in the double-elimination tournament.
And with seven returning players, including five starters, expectations are high for 2013.
“We had a great group of girls to start and build our program around,” said assistant coach Haylee Williams.
“They worked hard and got better every day.”
And indeed they did. The Lady Coyotes stood 16-21 after their first 37 games. Then they went on a tear and were 19-3 over their final 22 games.
Among the chief returners for the Coyotes are shortstop Katy Vandewater (.345 average, 70 hits, 11 home runs and a team-leading 54 RBIs), pitcher Kylee Studioso (conference leader with 235 innings, 223 strikeouts and 24 wins, along with posting a 2.29 ERA), outfielder Samantha Alegria (team leader with 76 hits and 21 doubles, along with a .402 average and 42 runs), outfielder and Aledo High product Carolyn Clayton (led the team in runs with 45) and pitcher/first baseman Emily Ditmore from Azle (.317 average, .957 fielding percentage).
Studioso, Vandewater and Alegria were first-team All-Conference last season, while Clayton and Ditmore were second-team picks.
Clayton started in the outfield last season, while reserves Makayla Baeza (outfield) and April Galvan (third base) are also back.
A host of newcomers has Williams excited.
Luci Ponce, a left-handed first baseman, can hit for power and high average. Kortney Koroll, catcher, is also a left-handed power hitter, and Williams is anticipating big power numbers. Middle infielder Sydney Kramer could post a high average with good speed on the bases.