After missing the postseason a year ago, Lady Tiger softball is driven to extend its season in 2013.
Glen Rose finished 13-20 in 2012 and 3-7 in district play, but coach Kiel Miller sees greater things in store in the months to come.
“Our team goal is definitely to win district, and then go as far as we can in the playoffs,” Miller said.
The team returns starters Cheyenne Horton, Alex Dahl, Amber Ponce, Destiny Ponce, Shelby Rotan, Kelsy Massey and Reilly Junge. Returning all-district players include Amber Ponce, Destiny Ponce and Junge. Move-in Madison Calvert was an all-district performer as a junior at 4A Cleburne.
Looking to the roster, senior Destiny Ponce is a candidate to play shortstop and in the outfield.
“Destiny is a powerful hitter with a very strong arm,” Miller said. “She has good speed and reads the ball well.”
Senior Reilly Junge is also an option at shortstop and in the outfield.
“Reilly is fast and an effective bunter,” Miller said. “She bats left-handed, so that will give pitchers a different look.”
Senior Madison Calvert is potentially the key for a breakout season for the Lady Tigers. The ace pitcher, Calvert could also play second base, first base or outfield.
“Madison hits well, plus she’s a leader and she knows the game well,” Miller said. “She’ll be consistent as a pitcher. She throws hard, has multiple pitches and is accurate.”
Senior Alex Dahl could play catcher or first base.
“Alex has a strong arm from behind the plate,” Miller said. “She’s a good leader and her bat is improving. She’s powerful.”
Senior Kelsy Massey will play in the outfield.
“Kelsy brings experience, leadership and a good sense of humor to keep the team loose,” Miller said. “She’s a good hitter.”
Senior Shelby Rotan will play second base.
“Shelby has good speed on the bases, she bunts well, is a solid defender and a good leader,” the coach said.
Junior Amber Ponce can play third base and is also a pitching option.
“Amber has a strong arm and is a powerful hitter,” Miller said. “She’s experienced at the varsity level.”
Callie Hill is a junior outfielder.
“Callie brings good speed to the team,” Miller said. “She can run down the ball and catch pretty well. Her speed also makes her an effective bunter.”
Junior Cheyenne Horton can play catcher, first base and outfield.
“Cheyenne is a very good bunter, plus she has a strong arm and a good glove,” Miller said.
Junior Sydney Stegint can play catcher, first base or third base.
“Sydney hit really well in summer ball,” Miller said. “She’s powerful, a good defender and very coachable.”
Sophomore Sierra Armstrong is a utility player who could help in the infield or outfield.
“She’s pretty fast, has a good arm and catches the ball well,” Miller said. “She’s a solid, all-around player.”
The roster isn’t complete just yet.
“We have other spots available, and those players will be determined in the weeks to come,” Miller said. “I’m going to play the best players, regardless of age.”
When asked about team strengths, Miller first considered the veterans on the roster.
“We’ll be very experienced with good leadership,” he said. “I think we’ll have more speed than ever before, and have good power hitting. Pitching will definitely be a strength because of Madison. After I get more work in with the girls coming from basketball, I think we will prove to have excellent pitching depth.”
Understandably, the coach has some concerns as well.
“Errors are always an area of concern, as are injuries,” Miller said. “We have several girls with an injury history, especially knees, so that’s a huge concern for me.”
With West and Kennedale now out of the picture, Miller likes his chances in 7-3A.
“I think it’s a relatively even district that will come down to pitching,” he said. “The one that worries me right now would probably be Stephenville, just because they are so much larger and have a bigger player pool to choose from. Really, I’m worried about everybody. On any given day, any team can beat you.”
It sounds like Lady Tiger fans can expect an entertaining product this spring. Glen Rose opens its season on Feb. 12 at home against Godley at 5:30 p.m.
“I think we’ll be more exciting this year than in years past,” Miller said. “We’re hungry for success, and this district is up for grabs.”