The Western Nebraska Community College softball team had a week delay in its season opener, but things look good for the Cougars to open the season Feb. 13 at Clarendon College.
The Cougars will spend a week in Texas playing games beginning with Clarendon. After that, the team will have a have a Valentine’s Day contest at Odessa College followed by Midland College on Feb. 15, Howard College on Feb. 17 and Western Texas on Feb. 19.
WNCC freshman pitcher Lexi Parker said the team is ready to open the season.
“We are way excited to play in Texas,” Parker said. “We are ready to get out on the field and go.”
After having the first week to Texas snowed out last week, the team is really anxious to get on the field to put together what they have been working on all winter.
The Texas trip won’t be easy by any means, Parker said. The Cougars will face No. 12 Howard on Feb. 15, and other Texas teams that have already played six or more games.
Parker said the focus of the Texas trip is to mesh together and take one game at a time.
“We are ready,” Parker said. “It has been a long but fun winter. We are just ready to go out and do what we are here to do that we love.”
This year’s team has meshed together nicely and have been grinding away with practices. Parker said they want to get out and play.
“We just want to go out there and do the best we can,” Parker said. “We want to go out and get some wins. We are just ready to get out on the field and put together what we have been practicing all winter.”
Parker said there is a nice blend of sophomores and freshmen that makes up the talented team.
“It looks like we will be pretty good,” she said. “We are stacked all-around. It looks like we will have a good lineup. We are deep in positions. We are just excited to get going.”
WNCC returns six players from last year’s Region IX team and all six had a hand in the regional title.
Leading the list are infielders Lindsey Allie of Tooele, Utah; Hannah Baesler of Thornton, Colorado and Sidnee Hogan of South Jordan, Utah.
The Cougars also have the twins from American Fork, Utah, back this year in Tylar and Sam Davis.
Sam Davis appeared in 28 games, mostly as a designated hitter. Sam batted .322 with 13 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
Her twin sister, Tylar, appeared in 50 games as a right fielder. She had a .233 batting average with 18 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
The other player back is returning pitcher and outfielder Emma Glawson, of Victoria, British Columbia. Glawson will be one of the two main pitchers for the team along with Parker, who hails from Draper, Utah.
The sophomores had good seasons as a freshman. Allie played in 51 games as a second baseman and finished with a .266 batting average with 10 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Hogan played in 44 games and tallied a .324 batting average with four home runs, 22 RBIs, and 33 runs scored while playing multiple positions.
Baessler played mainly shortstop a year ago, appearing in 54 games and collecting a .333 batting average with five home runs, 44 RBIs, and 45 runs scored. She also stole 20 bases.
Glawson had one of the best seasons of the returners a year ago offensively and defensively. Offensively, Glawson appeared in 51 games and finished with a .459 batting average with nine home runs, 39 RBIs and 33 runs scored. She also had 18 doubles with six stolen bases.
Defensively, Glawson finished with a 7-5 record with 58.1 innings pitched. She started 16 games and struck out 27 and walked just nine, finishing with a 3.24 ERA.
The freshmen have plenty of talent. Besides Parker, the newcomers come from Colorado, Utah and Texas.
The Texas players include Serena Olivas of El Paso and Ashley Alcozer of Temple.
The freshmen from Colorado include Mackenzie Bakel of Thornton, and Jade Gomez of Wheatridge.
The biggest share of freshmen hail from Utah. They include Maizie Clark of Grantsville; Tylor Comeau of Layton, Utah; Taylee Braegger of Cedar City; Bailey Nay of Ogden; and Cortney Rhees of West Haven.
WNCC’s first home games are slated for March 6-7 when Western Texas comes to Volunteer Field.
The team will be on the road for much of February and March. But, the Cougars will have eight of nine home games from March 28 through April 27. The only road trip is an April 7 trip to Sterling, Colorado. All the other games during that month are at Volunteer Field.
The team knows what their goal is, another regional title and hopefully a berth at the national tournament. It won’t be easy, either and the players realize that.
“We definitely have a target on our backs but all of us are ready to go,” Parker said.
It is a long process, but the team is taking it just one game at a time and continuing to get better each game they step foot on the diamond.
“We are all just going to come together,” Parker said. “I mean, for the pitchers and catchers, we have work to do and we definitely have to work as a team and go one game at a time.”
2020 WNCC Softball Schedule
(Note: Schedule could change depending on weather)
2/13 Clarendon Clarendon, Texas
2/14 Odessa Odessa, Texas
2/15 Midland Midland, Texas
2/17 Howard Big Springs, Texas
2/19 Western Texas Snyder, Texas
2/29 North Platte North Platte, Neb.
2/29 NE Nebraska North Platte, Neb.
3/1 North Platte North Platte, Neb.
3/1 NE Nebraska North Platte, Neb.
3/6 Western Texas Volunteer Field
3/7 Western Texas Volunteer Field
3/9 Highland Highland, Kan.
3/10 Highland Highland, Kan.
3/13 Trinidad Trinidad, Colo.
3/14 Lamar Lamar, Colo.
3/15 McCook McCook, Neb.
3/21 Otero La Junta, Colo.
3/22 Otero La Junta, Colo.
3/25 Northeastern Sterling, Colo.
3/28 McCook Volunteer Field
3/29 McCook Volunteer Field
4/4 Trinidad Volunteer Field
4/5 Trinidad Volunteer Field
4/7 Northeastern Sterling, Colo.
4/11 Otero Volunteer Field
4/15 Northeastern Volunteer Field
4/25 Lamar Volunteer Field
4/26 Lamar Volunteer Field
All softball regular season games are doubleheader
All times are MST