— By GREG WEBB
ALEDO — There are likely very few softball players-in-waiting (for the upcoming season) more anxious to get back on the diamond than Aledo’s Megan Mason — or more specifically in her case — behind the plate. Mason will don her catcher’s gear for the Ladycats’ first scrimmage in less than two weeks.
And the senior assured more softball expectations recently, when she inked her commitment to attend Weatherford College and become a member of the Lady Coyotes softball squad.
“This is a very special day for me,” Mason said. “I’ve been looking forward to [playing at the next level] since my freshman year, when I really decided I wanted to play in college.
“So, I’m just really happy to have this opportunity.”
Mason has been testing the recruiting waters for the better part of her high school career, eventually deciding WC was the best option for her to further her education, as well as her athletic career.
“I have been going through ‘the process’ for all four years of high school,” she said. “ I was looking seriously at [University of Texas in Arlington] but just felt it wasn’t a good fit for me right now.
“I plan to become a nurse, and Weatherford College has a great program, so that really helped in my decision, also.”
Entering just the third year of its softball program, Weatherford College has already become a noted segue for its athletes to continue playing at four-year schools. A signing ceremony at WC last year saw nine players moving on.
Mason intends to extend her career past the junior college level and, along with the location of the Lady Coyotes home field, is happy with the match.
“My parents have always been there for me, so the fact that Weatherford is so close weighed into my decision,” Mason said. “I really couldn’t see going to school very far away, which would mean a lot of traveling for them.”
After sitting out nearly the entire season last year due to a knee injury in the Ladycats’ second practice, (she had a pinch-hit at-bat in the state semi-final), Megan is more than anxious to get behind the plate again. The resumption of her athletic avocation will be the reward for an offseason of hard work.
“I was given my release [to continue workouts] last August,” she said. “I’ve been going at it ever since, to get all of the strength back in my legs and help prevent this happening again.
“I really can’t wait for the season to get started. It’s going to be a blast.”
Megan is understandably upbeat about Aledo’s fortunes in the upcoming season. The Ladycats finished the 2013 season with a 40-4 record, entering the postseason as undefeated district champs. Aledo advanced up through the brackets before losing in the state semifinal match to eventual state champ Buda Hays.
An impressive footnote of the season bore the fact that Ladycats softball did not have a reason to celebrate a Senior Night last spring.
“We had no seniors last year,” Megan said when asked about her expectations going into the 2014 season. “Plus, we had several players hurt, who will be back this season.
“We fully expect to advance as far as we did last year, and further.”