The College of the Canyons softball team was heartbroken in the Super Regionals last season, but this year they seek to avenge that setback and repeat as Western Conference Champions.
The Cougars are in the midst of their off-season training program in which Head Softball Coach John Wissmath wastes no time. The practices consist of a rapid pace, intensity and precision. The Cougars take a “no days off” approach in which they practice all week for hours at a time.
Wissmath looks for the squad to take their game to the next level in order to improve from last season. He believes the key to that piece, is for the sophomores to step up to a higher level of play.
“We’ve got some good players coming in from last season … but now we know what we’ve got to shoot for and I like our chances for this upcoming season,” Wissmath said.
In addition to the return of the sophomore core of Kimmie Lockhart, Adriana Correa, Nikki Haslock, and Jenny Wunderlich, the Cougars had key departures of starting shortstop Ruby Herrera, and catcher Amy Drogee. Wissmath is confident that the work will still be done, however.
The leadership from Herrera and Drogee were vital to the Cougars last season, but the Cougars will look to see who will fill the important role of captain for this years squad. “It’s going to be hard to find those girls to step up in that place right now, so I’m excited to see who steps up in their [Herrera and Drogee’s] footsteps,” said Wissmath.
Kimmie Lockhart is going to take on a big role pitching this year which is very crucial to the team’s success. Wissmath has given her the keys to the mound and looks for her to take a big leap forward coming into the 2013 season.
“Kimmie Lockhart is going to definitely have to step up her game and she has to be ready to throw at least 70 percent of the games, maybe better,” explained Wissmath. In addition to Lockhart’s pitching, her bat is going to be crucial to this strong lineup.
The Cougars have a solid incoming freshman class and they outfield will have some solidity this year with the likes of incoming freshman, Jessica Jones and Ashley Colon. Wissmath is looking for these two to provide a big spark for this team and is excited about their bats being added to the lineup.
“Jessica Jones who is going to be a good power hitter and I’m looking for her to step up there 3, 4, 5 spot, somewhere in the middle … I like to Ashley Colon to really step it up and take care of business,” said Wissmath with confidence in his new puzzle pieces.
With it so early in the softball season, this team knows that there is a lot of work to be done. The scrimmage games that are taking place are vital to the teams success coming into the season. It’s a little early to tell how the upcoming season will progress, but Wissmath has full faith in this group of girls to compete.
“I like our chances absolutely and I definitely think we will battle for a conference title and possibly move on into the next rounds,” expressed Wissmath with confidence.
The Cougars will be no easy match for any opponent in this upcoming season with serious potential to snag a state title.
The Cougars begin their season in Febuary 2013.