Needles High School

Ladies look to build on last year’s success

e Lady ’Stangs softball team are ramping up for another season and are looking to build on last year’s success.

Coach Ray Limon said the teams are a little low on numbers with 19 girls expected to come out total, but they should still be okay.

As far as returners go, Limon said many of the girls are coming back. Last year the team graduated pitcher Demi Limon. Kaci Rodriquez is expected to step up and carry much of the pitching duties this year. It will also be about having a good supporting cast to help out, Limon added.

Melanie Leslie-Merchain is returning and can help out with pitching duties, Limon said. The rest of the infield is looking to be many of the same girls with Brenna Chavez catching, Jeannine Otero at first, Allissa Rentas at second, Madison Krause at third. Leslie-Merchain will play at shortstop.

Limon said there are some younger girls who are coming up in the ranks and may challenge for those positions. The outfielders appear to be set with Raechael Lowenthal at center field, Paige Lewis at left field and Justyce Adamo in right field. “Those are some fast girls with quick hands,” he added.

Last year the girls made a good run at it. Limon said they went as far as the state tournament but ended up losing to Lincoln County.

This season the Lady ’Stangs have returning sophomores who have a little bit more experience, Limon said. That will help with mental maturity.

He said the team has the potential to get back to that spot again but there will need to be some adjustments made. They will have to have solid defense and good at-bats.

The girls do have a shorter schedule this year. They are scheduled for two games every week which shortens the practice schedule and the team will have to adjust for that, Limon said. It may mean having to do an occasional Saturday practice and eliminating pre-game practice, he added.

As far as opponents, White Pine and Lincoln County are looking to be the toughest but, as always, Needles never overlooks any teams, Limon said.

The girls kick off the season with the Colorado River Invitational. They play at noon Thursday, March 12, against Boulder City at Nikki Bunch Field. They play again at 2:40 p.m. the same day against Chino Valley.