— Courtesy - Weatherford College
It’s hard to imagine a better season than the breakout year the Weatherford College Coyotes softball team had in 2013. But there is room for improvement, according to head coach Haylee Williams.
The team finished with an impressive 53-8 record and advanced to the JUCO World Series in St. George, Utah.
But there is still a title to be won, and Williams believes she has the team to do just that in 2014.
Just three starters return from the powerhouse squad, but they are three sophomores who form a very solid foundation.
Pitcher Bailee Wortham posted a 20-4 record, third best in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) last season. Her 1.67 ERA was second in the league, and her 111 strikeouts in 138.2 innings ranked third. She also walked just 38 batters. When she wasn’t pitching, she was batting .300.
Third baseman Marissa Pereya hit .277 with 23 runs batted in. Center fielder Molly Holliday had a .350 average and stole 11 bases.
As for top new recruits, Williams noted freshmen Randi May, pitcher; Lauren Gunter, catcher; Cierra Davis, catcher; Jenny Freeman, shortstop; along with sophomores Randi Cookus, second base; Carlie Jenkins, first base; and Aundria Zuniga-Romero, a multi-purpose player who pitches, plays first base and steps as a designated hitter.
“I would have to say our pitching depth and overall athleticism,” Williams said when asked the team’s greatest strength. “We have numerous kids who can play multiple positions. Our infield is one of the best athletically that I have ever seen. We play hard, practice, and are very coachable. We can hit the ball to all fields with authority, which helps too.
“I think our kids are committed to being their best every day, which is all I can ask of them.”
And that began in the fall.
“The fall season was a great learning experience for the girls because we are so young and have a lot of new kids,” said Williams. “We played an extremely tough schedule against a lot of (NCAA) Division I schools, including Texas Tech.
“We found out a lot about our pitching staff, which seems very deep. We are extremely athletic all the way around the diamond. We have good team speed, and we can scatter the ball around the park with potential for some power numbers.
“We grew as a cohesive group, which was important.”
As is the case with baseball, the NTJCAC is a softball power conference, along with the Texas-New Mexico region.
“I think our conference will be pretty tough this year,” said Williams. “I saw some teams play and they looked well-rounded. And I know other schools signed some good kids.
“I think it is going to be a fight to the very end like last year.”
Editor’s note: The WC women have home games slated for Friday and Saturday at Stuart Field, with the opponent(s) to be announced. The Lady Coyotes NTJCAC schedule will begin Mar. 1, with a two-week long home stand before hitting the road for the next four weeks, returning home for a April 16 game against Temple. All NTJCAC games will be double headers.