Softball 2007 Season Preview
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson is planning on making a run at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title this season.
"This team is incredibly fast," said Peterson. "We are going to come in and run, run, run and that puts a lot of pressure on people."
The Mountain Lions will be living life in the fast lane. They do run, run, run; they do run, run.
Not that this is an utterly new development since UCCS led the RMAC with 115 stolen bases in 2006. But this season, Peterson and assistant coach Tanya Ramsay plan to take it to an entirely new level.
"We are going to come in and steal everything that isn't nailed down," said Peterson. "We stole 115 bases last year, but that's going to be just a blip. We're going to go well past that."
He has the team to back up the boast. UCCS returns two players, Rachel Hancock and Brianna Workman, who each stole 20 or more bases this past season. Both are capable of 30. So is center fielder Stacy Haney. Sarah Cleland and newcomers Tasha Pagdilao, Jamey Acton and Sierra Green are all capable of double digits in steals.
That's fast. But that doesn't mean there's no power. Last year's team hit a school-record 71 home runs and, despite the graduation of sluggers Brittni Carlson and Janine Ota, there's ample power on the roster to challenge that mark.
"We're going to continue to hit a lot of home run because of how we prepare and the things we do in practice," said Peterson. "That trend is going to continue."
Cleland and Lindsay Shandera are proven boppers with 12 homers each a year ago. Hancock hit four this past season but showed her growth by hitting seven in a single game during fall play. Designated hitter Sarah Brisky drilled six in just 97 at bats in 2006, while Haney hit seven at Lamar junior college. Freshmen Amanda Hamilton, Pagdilao and Katie Johnston all have a track record as sluggers.
The Mountain Lions will also have one of their best defensive teams. Shandera (1B), Cleland (SS) and Haney (CF) could all be the best in the RMAC at their respective positions.
Johnston, already an accomplished defender, is slated for third base while Hancock will man second. Acton is waiting in the wings, giving UCCS a deep, talented infield. Hamilton and Brisky are slated to see most of their time at DH this season, but can play first base and third base respectively.
Behind the plate will be Pagdilao, who is remarkably advanced for a freshman catcher. Nicole Link saw considerable time behind the plate last year and adds experience and Lindsey Harrell adds depth.
The outfield will be a blur. Flanking Haney in the outfield will be jets Workman and Green, with Acton also likely to see some time. Cara Newlon, Julie Jenkins, Amanda Clark and Kelly Quinn are also in the mix.
"There is not a ball that is going to drop out there (in the outfield) now," said Peterson. "The defense is going to be definitely improved, which is going to help the pitchers."
And that's the real question mark. The Mountain Lions will run, hit and defend with the best teams in the nation. If the pitching can keep up, they will be conference and even regional contenders.
UCCS will go into the season counting on three freshmen pitchers, Libby White, Stacy Ortiz and Brenna Wells. White, who was 22-1 with a 0.35 ERA at Niwot High School a year ago, is a control pitcher in the mold of former UCCS star Brenna Pool.
"She gets better as the innings go on," said Peterson. "Libby's just got great control. She's psychologically very sound on the mound."
Ortiz, who went 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA last year at Mullen High School, projects as the other starter.
"Stacy sort of pitches with a chip on her shoulder," said Peterson. "She's very focused and does a real nice job."
Wells will provide a change of pace. An all-district pitcher in her native South Dakota, she has a funky, herky-jerky motion that will disrupt a hitters timing.
"Brenna Wells is definitely going to help us out," said Peterson. "She got a delivery that is a little bit unusual than what were normally used to seeing."
Peterson is surprisingly serene for a coach who's entering the season with three freshmen pitchers.
"Regis has shown that you can win with young kids," said Peterson. "Were not afraid of it at all. They're very talented and I think they'll do just fine."
Another reason for Peterson's confidence is the abilities of pitching coach Don Pettrow.
"I don't think that it's a coincidence that we have had such good pitching and Don just happens to be here," said Peterson. "Don just does a sensational job with the pitchers, he's extremely smart and the pitchers love him."
If Pettrow and the pitchers deliver, the Mountain Lions should continue their four-year streak of RMAC playoff appearances.
They even have the talent to make it a race for the RMAC championship. They are, after all, very fast.
"We are going to be fast and you better be ready," said Peterson. "We are not going to play traditional softball."
As Bruce Springsteen would say, they're born to run.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|December 31, 2007||UCCS Ranks Sixth in Total Attendance for 2007||The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team ranked sixth in Division II in total attendance this past season, the University learned Monday.|
|November 21, 2007||Jordan Becomes Sixth Signee for Mountain Lions||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson added a sixth player to an already impressive recruiting class Wednesday when Ashley Jordan of Erie High School signed her national letter of intent.|
|November 14, 2007||Mountain Lions Sign Five to National Letters of Intent||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson announced the signing of five players to national letters of intent on Wednesday.|
|September 27, 2007||UCCS Ranked 36th in GPA||The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team ranked No. 36 nationally in grade point average, the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association announced Thursday.|
|August 2, 2007||UCCS Extends Softball Camp Registration Deadline||The UCCS Softball Coaching Staff has announced that they will extend the registration deadline for their softball skills camp until Monday, August 6th.|