Coyotes softball in ‘fall ball’ mode

Posted Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Haylee Williams went from assistant to head coach of the Weatherford College softball team shortly before the season began earlier this year.

Hence, her first offseason came after she had coached her first regular season. And, just like that regular season, she said the offseason was also a big recruiting success.

"Recruiting this summer was very busy, and I was able to see and evaluate thousands of kids," said Williams, who led the Coyotes to the NJCAA Division I World Series. "Recruiting doesn't really stop. It's an all-the-time thing."

While many of the new faces were signed as far back as January, Williams said several notables were brought in over the summer. These include pitcher Randi May (Wheatland, Calif.), shortstop Randi Cookus (Danville, Ill.), catchers Lauren Gunter (Crowley) and Cierra Davis (Pflugerville), and pitchers Kelbie Crelia (Early.) and Anna Hitt (Gig Harbor, Wash.).

"We have a lot of new kids (15 total), so there are a lot of growing pains and learning how to play together," Williams said.

Thus, one of the main reasons to hold fall softball. Sure, the teams play games, but it's more about getting ready for spring.

"We have so many newcomers that the fall is huge for everyone,” Williams said. "The returners have to learn basically a new team and how to play together just as much as the new kids.

"Basically, the fall is learning how to become a team and learning how I want things done and we as a coaching staff expect from them day-in and day-out. There is a certain way we expect them to play the game, and that is our biggest challenge every day."

Among the things Williams looks for in the fall is who will be a good teammate/team player, who can handle the pressure of college softball, and what weaknesses exist - both individually and as a whole.

"The main emphasis of the fall is learning the game, how we do things here at Weatherford College and learning how to play together as one unit," Williams said. "Wins and losses aren't as important as just getting better every day and learning something to put towards the spring."

The Coyotes play mostly four-year universities in the fall. While they don't get to do much evaluation of other teams in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference, they do get to place their players up for evaluation from bigger programs.

"This allows our kids to be seen, and it's great competition that really challenges us in every aspect of the game," Williams said.

Fall ball features a lot of fundamentals. In fact, the team will take an entire day for "softball class."

"We do chalkboard talk, learning the ins and outs of the game and some finer points of playing the game," Williams said. “I love the fall. There are a lot of teaching and coaching opportunities. You see 20 individuals become a team and get to see them grow as people and players."

As for herself now having a full season as a head coach behind her, Williams said, "I don't think it made a huge difference because no matter which role I was in I am very competitive and always want our girls to play hard, respect the game and be well-prepared."

WC team ropers repeat as event champs

Weatherford College team ropers Casey Tew and Landon Williams won their event for the second week in a row, taking the title at the Vernon College Rodeo Oct. 3-5. Tew and Williams have amassed 340 points and hold a commanding lead in the NIRA Southwest Region standings, more than doubling their nearest competitors.

Paul Melvin won third in Steer Wrestling and is also among the region leaders after placing 5th in the first rodeo at Eastern New Mexico University.

Jared Parsonage won seventh in Team Roping in Vernon with partner and former WC student Chance Gasperson (Texas Tech).

Freshman Forrest Fisher qualified to the Vernon finals in both his events, winning sixth in Tie-Down Roping and ninth in Team Roping with partner Eddie Medina (Odessa College).

Weatherford High School graduate Colten Rundell made the finals and finished 10th in Steer Wrestling. Rundell has now made the cut at four of his last five rodeos dating back to last season.

Freshman Riley Chown made the finals in both of her events, finishing as the reserve Breakaway Roping champion, and placing 9th in Barrel Racing. Skylar Ragan won fifth in Barrel Racing for the second week in a row. Jamie Parvin placed 10th in Goat Tying.

The WC men’s team won fourth overall; the women’s team took eighth.

This past week, the rodeo team participated in the Frank Phillips/ West Texas A&M Rodeo in Perryton.

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