2014 Softball Preseason Capsules


Head coach: Maria Yoder, third season

2013 record: 20-15 (5-5 Northwest, third)

Returning letter winners (starters): Eight (eight)

Top players: IF Letty Valenzuela (Sr.), C Dacia Sykes (Sr.), P/IF Ashlyn Ames (Sr.)

Outlook: The Aggies return eight starters, including Valenzuela (.505 average, 2.06 ERA), Sykes (.500 average) and Ames (.477 average, 2.84 ERA).

“This year we are returning our largest number of upperclassmen,” Yoder said. “Because of this, and the amount of young talent entering our program, we have set high expectations for the girls and are hoping to push farther into the postseason.”


Head coach: Angelica Moorhead, first season

2013 record: 27-9 (11-1 Sunrise, first)

Returning letter winners (starters): Five (five)

Top players: P/3B Mikaela Brown (Jr.), P/2B Charlene Masterson (So.), UTL Kaila Davis (Sr.), OF Alyssa Ybarra (Jr.), OF/C Nikki Schulz (Sr.), 1B/OF Katlyn Jackson (Sr.)

Outlook: Moorhead inherits a program that has experienced plenty of success.

The Eagles return five starters from a squad that won the Sunrise League.

“We’re looking forward to an exciting season,” Moorhead said. “The young group is ready to play and work toward a winning season and hopefully to the state games in May.”


Head coach: Martha O’Kelley, seventh season

2013 record: 6-17 (4-8 Division III Southern, fifth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Five (three)

Outlook: The Lions return just three starters from a team that finished fifth in the Southern League.

“It’s a young and inexperienced team,” O’Kelley said.


Head coach: Mickey Arquette, fourth season

2013 record: 2-24 (0-10 Northeast, sixth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Nine (nine)

Top players: 1B Emilee Kaye (So.), 3B/P Ciera Berkemeyer (Sr.), SS Karina Cavada (So.), C Tea Rivera (Jr.), CF Jhabre Wright (Sr.)

Outlook: The Pioneers bring back nine starters as they hope to make some waves in the Northeast League.

“The team and program is in a steady improvement,” Arquette said. “Improvements on defense will help. Our pitching is not strong, but should keep us in games. Offensively, we should be better than last season.

“We’re wroking on confidence at the plate and knowledge of the (strike) zone. The entire team has a new ‘Hate to lose’ attitude.”


Head coach: Teri Hernandez, seventh season

2013 record: 20-14-1 (8-2 Sunset, second)

Top players: Courtney Gain (Sr.), Alyssa Fata (Jr.), Taylor Cole (Jr.), Brittany Leeds (So.)

Outlook: The Desert Shields lost nine seniors from a team that finished second in the Division I-A Sunset League.

Fata is a workhorse in the circle and tossed the bulk of Cheyenne’s innings last year.

“We will be starting with a relatively young team this year,” Hernandez said. “There is a lot of talent on this team, and I am looking forward to what they are going to bring to the plate.”


Head coach: Melissa Krueger, fourth season

2013 record: 25-12 (10-0 Southeast, first)

Returning letter winners (starters): Seven (five)

Top players: P/SS Danielle Amato (Sr.), P/IF Jaiden Johnson (So.), C/SS Basia Query (So.)

Outlook: The Cougars return five starters on a young squad that includes seven freshmen.

“We’re looking forward to a fun year,” Krueger said. “A strong core of four seniors will lead a talented group of underclassmen.”


Head coach: Dan Johnson, second season

2013 record: 7-18 (2-8 Southwest, fifth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Seven (four)

Top players: P/OF Shonda Badayos (Jr.); 1B Karly Severance (Jr.); LF Kai Epsom (Jr.); CF Raina Ladislao (Jr.); SS/OF Megan Anders (Fr.); C/SS Mary Dungey (Fr.)

Outlook: After a year when injuries, ineligibility and transfers zapped the team’s depth, Johnson is excited about the team’s chances.

Two juniors return after missing time with injuries last year, and Anders and Dungey are among five freshmen, all of whom play travel ball, on the roster.

“This year I expect us to return to the success of the previous years,” Johnson said. “We are all eager to return to the playoffs. With only one senior, I feel this year and next could be big years for Desert Oasis. This is one of the best teams D.O. has put on the field.”


Head coach: Melissa Cain, third season

2013 record: 0-19 (0-12 Sunrise, seventh)

Returning letter winners (starters): Five (two)

Top players: P/IF/OF Anna Torres (Sr.), C/IF/OF Melissa Benford (Sr.), C/IF/OF Annalisa Gutowski (So.), IF/OF Dulce Suarez (Jr.), IF/OF Kelly Tolayo (So.)

Outlook: The Jaguars are hoping to show improvement this season.

“The team will have a good season as long as we continue to play and work hard as a team and give it our all,” Cain said.


Head coach: John Chilman, fifth season

2013 record: 22-15, (9-1 Sunset, first)

Returning letter winners (starters): Six (Five)

Top players: 3B Lauryn Lipe (Sr.), 2B Bri Yee (Sr.), DP Alex Wright (Sr.), OF Vanessa Valdez (Jr.), OF Lili Bonora (Sr.)

Outlook: The Crusaders bring back five starters from a team that advanced to the Division I-A state tournament.

Wright, who hit .417, and Lipe (.313, 28 RBIs) are back to lead the offense.

“If the Crusaders are going to repeat last year’s state tournament run, they will have to find a way to replace four-year letter winner Rachel Kerr and All-State players Stacie Graham, Mandi Young,and Kelly Zufall,” Chilman said. “Six returning seniors hope to improve on last year’s first-place finish, but they will need a number of underclassmen to step up and play some pretty big roles.”


Head coach: Tom Mayes

2013 record: 25-15 (8-2 Southeast, second)

Returning letter winners (starters): Eight (eight)

Top players: SS/2B Jordan Corn (So.), 1B Sarah Maddox (So.), C Hannah Stevens (Jr.), 3B Daryan Meade (So.), P Sarah Penksa (So.)

Outlook: The Falcons return eight starters, but still are young with only two seniors among those returnees.

“Foothill will rely on its returning sophomores as the key to its success, but also on the leadership of its two seniors,” Mayes said. “As with all teams, Foothill’s goal is to get into the final four and win the school’s first state title in softball.”


Head coach: Lauren Taylor, eighth season

2013 record: 23-11 (8-2 Northeast, first)

Returning letter winners (starters): Nine (eight)

Top players: CF Maggie Manwarren (Sr.), P Fenixx Henderson (Sr.), 3B Autumn Owens (Sr.)

Outlook: The defending Sunrise Region champions bring back eight starters and should have an excellent chance of returning to the state tournament.

“We’re looking forward to another fun year with a few new faces,” Taylor said.


Head coach: Dan Casel, eighth season

2013 record: 14-14 (3-7 Southwest, fourth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Six (six)

Top players: 1B Kiani Elia (Sr.), C Gabby Rinker (Jr.), SS Lindsey Fishman (Jr.), 3B Alyssa Sotelo (So.)

Outlook: Elia hit .557 and had 22 RBIs last season, and along with Sotelo (.397, 2 HRs, 26 RBIs) is back to lead the offense.

“With a core of the lineup back and young, solid pitching, Legacy hopes to build on last year’s playoff berth and make a deeper run in the playoffs this year,” Casel said.


Head coach: Eli Armendariz, third season

2013 record: 15-17 (6-4 Sunset, third)

Returning letter winners (starters): 10 (seven)

Top players: P Whitney Roderick (Sr.), IF Bryana Soliwoda (Sr.), IF Amanda Pryor (Jr.), OF Maddisson Hurley (Jr.)

Outlook: Soliwoda hit .657 last season, and along with Pryor (.528 on-base percentage) and Hurley (.423 average), is expected to be among the offensive leaders.

Roderick is a workhorse in the circle and averaged better than a strikeout per inning.

“We want to go deep in the playoffs,” Armendariz said.


Head coach: Kelly Glass, eighth season

2013 record: 29-9 (10-0 Northwest, first)

Returning letter winners (starters): 13 (Eight)

Top players: C Brooke Stover (Sr.), OF Breanna Beatty (Sr.), OF/P Rachel Williams (Sr.), 1B Rachael Turner (Sr.), P Kelsea Sweeney (Jr.), 2B/OF/P Melissa Lacro (Sr.)

Outlook: The Panthers return almost the entire squad from a team that finished second in the Division I state tournament last year.

Stover and Beatty each had 49 RBIs last season and are back to lead an offense that has the potential to be explosive.

“Because of the hard work these girls put into their game and the program, there are high expectations for the team,” Glass said. “Though we are returning most of the players from last year, we will pick up a handful more and carry a large roster because of the amount and quality of players who will graduate not only this year, but next year as well.”


Head coach: Amanda Zunno, second season

2013 record: 21-13 (7-3 Northeast, third)

Returning letter winners (starters): 10 (seven)

Top players: P/1B Brandy Marlett (Sr.); 2B/3B Jacey Kelley (Jr.); C/CF McKinzi Vega (Jr.); 3B/1B Kayla Coles (So.); SS Tiare Lee (So.)

Outlook: The Rams made the playoffs last season and even had a first-round victory over Foothill in the Sunrise Region tournament.

Marlett is back to lead the squad after earning second team All-Northeast League honors last season.

“We are looking forward to building on last year’s success with a good mix of returners and an influx of youthful talent,” Zunno said.


Head coach: Freddie Rosser, first season

2013 record: 2-17 (1-9 Northwest, sixth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Three (three)

Top players: P Kalei Watkins (Fr.), 2B/1B Kira Felise (Jr.), 1B/2B Adrianna Sommerville (Jr.), C Brendee Ford (So.)

Outlook: Rosser inherits and hopes to turn around a program that has struggled to find success in recent years.

“I expect to field a very competitive team,” Rosser said. “I fully expect to make the playoffs.”


Head coach: Kyle Crane, second season

2013 record: 12-9 (7-3 Northeast, second)

Returning letter winners (starters): Eight (five)

Top players: 2B Arieana Monturio (Sr.), OF Brianna Lazaro (Sr.), C Gabby Santiago (Jr.), 3B Korina Pindel (Jr.), C Jessica Chamberlain (Jr.), OF Brandi Splinter (Jr.), SS Madison Sisco (Jr.), IF/OF Taryn Southerland (Jr.)

Outlook: The Skyhawks return five starters from a squad that finished second in the Sunrise Region tournament.

“The 2014 team looks to improve on last year’s strong performance,” Crane said. “The Skyhawks will focus one game at a time with their sights set on the state tournament.”


Head coach: Todd Herrick, sixth season

2013 record: 16-17 (7-5 Sunrise, third)

Returning letter winners (starters): Eight (five)

Top players: SS Kimmie Rodriguez (Sr.), C Ashley Ramsey (Sr.), 1B Emmalyne Laymon (Sr.)

Outlook: The Roadrunners bring back eight letter winners from a team that placed third in the Sunrise League.

“We will have a good core of experienced players to mix with new talent,” Herrick said. “There will be open competition to fill the second base and third base spots, and the Roadrunners will go with two freshmen and a sophomore in the circle.”

Tech’s home field is unplayable, so the team will practice at Stephanie Lynn Craig park and play scheduled home games at Anthem Hills Park.

“Even with the current field situation, we had more players (58) than ever try out this year, and I am expecting a very competitive and hard-working group,” Herrick said.”


Head coach: Lindsay Augustyn, first season

2013 record: 13-18 (2-8 Northeast, fifth)

Returning letter winners (starters): Seven (four)

Top players: P Kristina Manthei (So.); SS Shannon Williams (So.)

Outlook: New coach Augustyn will lean on sophomores Manthei and Williams, who got valuable experience as freshmen.

Manthei was 11-11 with a 3.62 ERA, and also batted .356. Williams hit .338.

“As a new head coach, I’m not sure what to expect,” Augustyn said. “However, we have some great young players that I’m looking forward to watching grow even more as ball players.”