By GARY STALLARD
In a ceremony Angelina College softball coaches Mark and Barbi Mattson present every other year, the Lady Roadrunners welcomed the newest class of signees in Thursday’s celebration at Shands Gymnasium on the AC campus.
With the current team present to welcome the newcomers, AC introduced 13 high school seniors who have signed letters of intent to begin play in the fall of 2019.
As usual, the incoming Lady ‘Runners will wield big bats – a staple of the Mattson approach. However, Mark Mattson said the group will offer more variety than many of his homer-happy teams of the past.
“There are a lot of heavy hitters in this group, and a lot of them are lefties,” Mattson said. “They can drop bunts, hit it out, hit triples.
“It’s a little different than what Barbi and I are used to seeing. They’re very athletic, and we have a lot of multi-sport players. The last time we had this many multi-sport players on our team, we won a national championship. Those multi-sport players seem to adapt so quickly, and they always seem to have a real competitive edge and a great communication factor when they get here.”
This year’s version of the team is sophomore-heavy, with several returning starters – along with some key additions – returning for another push to a national tournament run. Mattson said his current group helped with the bonding process necessary in integrating new faces, no matter what year they arrive.
“Getting large groups of new players is an every other year thing for us,” Mattson said. “We always go big class, small class. The biggest thing to get them to jell is letting them know they can trust us. We did the Book Club this past year, and we noticed our players getting more open with each other, and their relationships get even stronger. We also do so many things in the community, and it just helps bond everyone together even more.”
The new Lady Roadrunners, along with their high schools and home towns, include Jayda Carter, Copperas Cove HS (Copperas Cove); Ebbie Rodriguez, St. Anthony’s Catholic HS (Helotes); Lindsay Picazo, Mansfield Timberview HS (Mansfield); Kaylee Berdoll, Elgin HS (Utley); Caleigh Robinson, Belton HS (Temple); Madison Murdock, Little Cypress-Mauriceville HS (Orange); Savannah Robertson, Magnolia West HS (Magnolia); Kaitlyn Odom, Woodville HS (Woodville); Andrea Rodriguez, Austin HS (Austin); Anne Elise Gest, Joshua HS (Joshua); Skylar Wooten, Klein Collins HS (Spring); Brenda Sanchez, Bryan HS (Bryan); and Smiley Radke, Lufkin HS (Lufkin).
The Lady Roadrunners open their 2019 season on January 26 at the Coastal Bend Tournament in Beeville.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.