By Dave Loveton, SBCC sports information
Monday, Feb. 13, 2012
Youth will be served in 2012
Vaqueros have one returner from WSC champions
The makeup of the SBCC softball team has changed dramatically from last year when the Vaqueros enjoyed the best season in school history. They've gone from a sophomore-dominated lineup to nearly all freshmen with 13 of 15 players in their first collegiate season.
A year ago, Kailey Snyder led the Vaqueros to a 31-7 record and their first WSC Gold Division title. Snyder, who was 27-6 with a 0.94 ERA, set school records for wins, strikeouts (234) and strikeouts in a game (15).
Snyder, who was named All-American and Southern Cal Pitcher of the Year, is now pitching for Colorado State.
"We have the same expectations we had with our championship team," said coach Paula Congleton. "We want to repeat as WSC champions, go to the playoffs and get a home bid in the first round."
The Vaqueros have a tough preseason schedule and have dropped their first four games against teams with a combined record of 17-5. Thirteen of their first 15 games are on the road.
They'll make their home debut on Tuesday against L.A. Mission at 2:30 p.m.
Mariah Coyazo is the lone returner from last year and she's moved from second base to shortstop. Alyse Harris, a sophomore who transferred from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., will be a starting pitcher along with Celeste Acosta.
"It will be interesting because they throw so differently," said Congleton. "Alyse is more upright, she's taller and has a little more speed. Celeste has good spin and good movement."
Catcher Lauren Larabell is a top newcomer, along with third-baseman Bryn Thompson and outfielders Samantha Cabada and Brianna Portese. "Brianna has been dynamite in center field with a good arm and a good bat," Congleton noted.
A couple of local players -- Kiersty Briner of Dos Pueblos and Tara Crawford of San Marcos -- will play second base and right field, respectively. Acosta will also play second.
Natalie Orosco, the daughter of former SBCC and Major League pitcher Jesse Orosco, will share time at first base with Kayla Dormer.
Cabada is batting leadoff, followed by Thompson, Coyazo, Larabell, Portese and either Roxanne Hugo (Carpinteria High) or Brianna Gill.
"The strength of this team is our talent, we just need to play more," said Congleton. "There's a lot of potential on this team, we just don't have all the cogs working together yet.
"This is a young group and we need to learn from our mistakes. If we can start peaking in late March and April, we'll be right where we want to be. No one will remember what happened in February."
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