A 1-17 record can make for a forgettable season.
But Mountain Pointe girls softball coach Mel Wendell hopes the Pride have long memories.
“You look back on what we did last year and in order not to do that again we have to do things differently,” Wendell said. “We’ve set our goals, and the girls have set them high this year.”
It’s more than wishful thinking.
The Pride are returning eight players, including four seniors who have been through three up-and-down seasons.
“The experiences that they’ve had as freshmen, sophomores and definitely last year, have put them where they need to be this year,” Wendell said.
Of course it helps to have a lineup that includes senior third baseman Arielle Cano, who has signed to play at Phoenix College next season, and centerfielder Holly Phillips.
Senior Sienna Martinez is an experienced first baseman, and designated hitter Danielle Stewart is also in the lineup.
Pitchers like Ciara Gonzales, who missed last season with an injury, and senior Sara Pattengale, who will be playing college ball in Kentucky next year, should keep the Pride in games this year.
Catcher Cecily Abbadessa and shortstop Nyla Wambold also have been through the softball wars.
“It’s a tough lineup, and I’m glad I have it instead of facing it,” Wendell said.
Newcomers also have an advantage of learning from experienced seniors.
“You learn from your loses, and it was tough last year,” Wendell said. “You can’t teach experience, and there is no fear this year because they’ve been there, done that and are ready to put it all on the line.”
The Pride have switched from the former Central Region, which had dwindled to four teams, to the realigned East Valley Region, which includes Mesa Skyline, Westwood and Desert Ridge as well as Gilbert Perry, Tempe Marcos de Niza and Casa Grande.
“That’s going to make a tremendous difference,” Wendell explained. “We’re in a region with teams we can play with this year.”
The Pride made it to the state 5A-I playoffs two years ago, and with seniors who remember that season, they hope to go back this year.
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