GLENDALE — Glendale Community College softball Coach Dave "Hawk" Wilder is confident he has all the bases covered, so to speak, as the Vaqueros get ready to begin their 2011 season on Jan. 28 in their host tournament at the Glendale Sports Complex.
With an evenly mixed blend of freshmen prospects and proven sophomore talent, Wilder said his squad looks ready to hit and pitch its way to a resurgence in the Western State Conference and build on last year's overall 16-21 mark.
"We've got a super freshman class, but our sophomores who are coming back are really good," Wilder said. "Our pitching and our hitting is going to be phenomenal."
The Vaqueros return hurler Jennifer Meza, who earned all-conference second-team honors last season, and have added another promising pitcher in freshman Brandy Morin.
Handling the pitching staff will be freshman catcher Brittany Wright.
"We have her back and she's been looked at by four or five colleges [for next year]," Wilder said of Meza. "We have a super freshman catcher from Verdugo Hills, who also played with Mesa [in high school].
"We really do have two major starting pitchers this year."
Backing up Meza and Morin in the field will be an infield that includes sophomore first baseman Aileen Menedez, freshman shortstop Monique Guzman and sophomore third baseman Britni Spear.
Freshman Carly Zabka, a transfer from William Penn College, can play second base, as well as first base and the outfield and returning sophomore Marissa Vasquez provides depth at the corners.
Sophomore captain Rachel Allen and freshman Nancy Pinedo are expected to start in right and center field, respectively.
Wilder said the lineup contains a collection of versatile hitters with speed and power.
"We've got speed at the top, power in the middle, speed at the bottom," Wilder said. "Our starting nine from top to bottom could be phenomenal. We really don't have a weak spot in our hitting if they come through from top to bottom. Even the ones on the bench can hit."
The Vaqueros begin conference play at 5 p.m. on March 13 at Bakersfield College.
"We have up the middle and we have pitching and catching," Wilder said. "That's all you need."