It worked last year, so why not try it again?
The Waxahachie Lady Indians finished second in District 16-4A last season to eventual state-champ Hewitt Midway before claiming the bi-district championship.
Two of the key components to the success of the team were the play of freshman Summer Davila at short stop and Brooke Goad.
Goad filled in for the injured Tori Banda at pitcher and tossed two no-hitters against Waco and helped Waxahachie not miss a beat. When she was not in the circle she played right and was protected in the lineup by several powerful hitters allowing her to swing away and also do damage with the bat.
With several holes to fill for the 2011 team Waxahachie head coach Steve Howell had little hesitation calling on freshmen again to play pivotal roles for the team with high expectations.
Ariel Ortiz will be manning third base for the Lady Indians this season while fellow freshman Marissa Hooper will be behind the plate as the catcher.
“Ariel Ortiz is going to be a great player for us. She can play anywhere on the field, besides pitcher, and probably has one of the best arms I have seen since I have been here,” Howell said. “Hooper is another good one. I do not want to put a lot of pressure on her right now so I have been calling the pitches. I just want her to get back there and catch the ball. She is going to be a real good catcher by the time she gets out of here.”
Ortiz wasted little time making her presence known as she led off in the season opener against Midlothian and had two hits in the game.
“I just think that all the girls have worked really hard to get where we are at,” Oritz said. “I feel a little pressure leading off but I just have to keep working at it. I am not used to it and overall we are still just all learning to play together.”
In two of the most demanding positions on the field the Lady Indians are relying on freshmen to carry the load, but like last year proved it is possible.
“This year our catcher is young but she is strong and ready for anything,” Goad said. “She hustles and gets the job done very well. Our relationship is strong and we work well together as a team.”
Howell said Goad is the No. 1 pitcher and will be relied on a lot and he fully believes Hooper is ready behind the plate. Most teams have an experienced battery, pitcher and catcher, but the Lady Indians are relying on young talent to help carry the team.
“It is a lot of pressure, but you have to trust your infield and work hard,” Hooper said. “We have a lot of confidence in each other. We have been working together since August so over time it has progressed.”
Through tournaments the battery will become more familiar with one another and by the second half of district play could be ready to call their own shots as they did in two of the tournament games, including a three-inning no-hitter against W.T. White on Thursday.
“It concerns me some with them being so young. I was going to let Brooke call her pitches like I did with Tori last year but we have not done it yet. We might try it in tournaments that way she doesn’t question what I call, but I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on a sophomore. Maybe next year she might be able to call, or my catcher, and then if I want a certain call I will put it in there,” Howell said.
Both freshmen are enjoying their varsity experience through the first seven games and the expectations are in place for a history-making four-year varsity career for both.