Lady Cats open season tonight at Nevada
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Feb. 13, 2007 - A new coach and a new excitement is in the air for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats as the softball season opens up tonight at Nevada Community.
"Right now, they are ready to play a full game," said SSHS coach David Carrillo. "We have had some scrimmages and with the weather being the way it has been we are ready to get out there and see what we are made of."
The JV begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by the varsity at 6 p.m. in Nevada but Carrillo said there is a 70-80 percent chance of rain tonight.
Carrillo brings 17 years of coaching experience to a team that finished 9-14-1 last year and 3-7 in District 11-4A play under coach Tommy Grammar.
"This year's team has a great blend of talent. We have seniors all the way down to a couple of freshman that we moved up," Carrillo said. "We are really getting to know each other and we look to have a good year. We are basing our philosophy on team work, and everything is team first and our girls are buying into it this year.
"They have made position changes and have done whatever I have wanted them to do to make things work. I think the tradition has been great here in the past and I think they slipped up last year. They are ready to step up this year and get it back to where it needs to be."
The Lady Cats return six All-District honorees from last year as Co-Freshman of the Year Katie Dodd returns for her sophomore season. Dodd was the first baseman last year and batted .250 for the season with a pair of RBI.
"Any time you can get the Newcomer of the Year coming back, it makes you feel good," the coach said. "She has made me feel right at home and she is a team player and a great leader for being so young."
Sulphur Springs also returns Second Team selections in senior Kristen McDonald, juniors Kelsey Evans, Amanda McGowin and Marci Womack and sophomore Brittani Crawford.
"I think we are going to have experience coming back, but we are young," he said. "Girls like Amanda McGowin, Brittani Crawford and Kelsey Evans are helping me get this thing going this year. The girls want to do well and they strive to go ahead and look up to those standards that have been set ahead of them."
Carrillo said at pitcher this year he has three solid players in senior Tarra Morton, Womack and freshman Taylor Clifton. He said Womack and Clifton will be the power pitchers while Morton is more of a finesse pitcher.
Womack went 5-8-1 last year with a 1.66 ERA in 88 1/3 innings, while Morton went 2-3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 38 1/3 innings last year.
"Right now, Marci has pitched eight innings in the scrimmages and hasn't given up an earned run yet. She has looked very sharp and impressive," Carrillo said. "We are looking also looking at Tarra Morton and a freshman in Taylor Clifton at pitcher and I think Taylor will be a great player for us in the future."
After a fourth place finish in district last year, Carrillo said any team could win the district so the preseason will be very important.
"I think with this year there is not going to be a day off in district play. Everybody is going to have to play their game and it depends on who is playing the best that day," Carrillo said. "It depends on who is getting hot at that time and who is playing sharp and eliminating mistakes.
"I told the girls at the beginning of the year to work hard and do right. We do those two things and the winning will take care of itself. I think the girls have something to prove and we are going to see what happens."