The 2005 Glendale Community College softball team boasts just one
returning starter from a season ago.
But after a 2004 season that ended with a 9-27 mark and nothing to
boast about, perhaps that's a good thing.
Right-fielder Cindy Torres is that lone returning starter, but GCC
is also the beneficiary of three returning Lady Vaqueros from two
seasons ago: Kristen Carr, Bernice Sandoval and Miki Mayorga.
That, combined with some big-time bats and improved team chemistry
has GCC Coach Dave Wilder excited about the upcoming season.
"In all truth, I think we have a team that can do really well this
year," Wilder said. "We have 10 really solid players and they like to
After a season's hiatus, Carr will likely be key to the team's
success as she was an All-State selection in 2003, according to
Carr can play catcher and first base and will also be one of
Wilder's starting pitchers -- the other will be freshman Trisha Carr,
Also returning from seasons off are second baseman Sandoval and
left fielder Mayorga.
"We've got some girls that are experienced and know what they're
doing," Wilder said. "We really lucked out."
Wilder also feels somewhat lucky to have a lineup he believes will
be the strength of the team. While the lead-off and No. 2 spots are
yet to be decided and will likely be filled by players from a speedy
outfield, his No. 3 hitter will be starting catcher Christina Kula,
who attended Eagle Rock High before joining the Navy.
Following Kula will be Kristen Carr in the clean-up spot.
"Those two are like Murderer's Row," Wilder said.
The fifth spot will be filled by shortstop Maritza Patini, who
Wilder calls a, "great, great infielder." She's also a solid fielder
up the middle who looks to shore up a defense that Wilder believes
will improve the more it gets to practice together. Practices before
today's opener on the road against Rio Hondo College at 3 p.m. have
been few and far between, due to weather.
Still, Wilder has seen a chemistry develop that was absent from
last season's team and should be a positive for this year's squad.
"Not only are they tough, but I've got a bunch of girls who like
each other and want to play together," Wilder said. "This year, we
have camaraderie. ... I think our chemistry this year is better than
it has been in years."
Shoring up the outfield will be Hoover graduate Carol Naygon --
the only area graduate on the team -- while freshman Emy Castaneda
is a, "gutsy, little player," according to Wilder and one he's
excited to have at the hot corner.
Nonetheless, the old and the new players, chemistry, batting and
defense will all have to improve should Wilder's bunch hope to
contend in the Western State Conference.
"We are in the toughest conference in California," said Wilder,
referring to a conference that featured five 20-plus-win teams last
Last season, College of the Canyons won its third Western State
South title in four seasons, while GCC finished with a conference
record of 7-13 in fifth place. But Wilder is ready to not only
improve his team's lackluster fortunes, but also contend for
conference and the postseason.
"The goal for us is to take first or second in our [conference].
That's what we've been talking about," Wilder said. "We want first or
second to get to regionals and then take it from there."
In the end, however, GCC's biggest question is also the key
component to all softball success.
"I think we're going to have solid defense and really good
hitting," Wilder said. "I think if we have pitchers who throw
strikes, we'll be good."
* GRANT GORDON covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225
or by e-mail at email@example.com.