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Clovis softball team starting fresh

CLOVIS — There's no sugar-coating a 2-24 season, and the Clovis softball team isn't trying to.

Forgetting, though, is far different than sugar-coating. That record occurred in 2017, now well in the past. Energy, optimism and enthusiasm are on the Lady Wildcats' 2018 agenda. The only record they have to worry about is 0-0, the one they'll carry into tonight's season opener at Monterey in Lubbock.

"We were excited to get here (for practice) in January," Clovis head coach Brandi Thomas said during Monday afternoon's practice. "We've got two new additions to our coaching staff and a whole bunch of new faces out there. They're hungry and they're ready to go."

"Our girls are a lot, lot better and we're a lot more of a team," Clovis' senior pitcher/third baseman Celeste Chavez said Monday. "We play as a team. Even during practices we cheer each other on. There's no drama, so that makes us a lot more together and it makes us stronger as a team."

Chavez is expected to be a key part of that team, tasked with much of the pitching and some third base when she's not on the hill.

Around the horn will be junior Anyssa Casaus at first base, sophomore Yasmine Larrea at second, senior Marina Tapia at short and senior Jazmyne Lefevre at third when Chavez is pitching. Junior Brittni Chavez, fresh off basketball season, will play some third and do some catching. Casaus will get some work on the mound.

Junior Maribel Gallegos will start in left field, sophomore Gabriella Garcia in center, and a platoon of senior Lauren Martin and junior Eleanna Garcia in right. Senior Harley Barber will spend some time roaming center.

Sophomore Daisy Dodge is going to handle most of the catching.

Freshmen Janelle Macias and Divina Lopez will provide infield depth. Macias is a backup shortstop; Lopez will play middle infield while splitting time between varsity and jayvee.

"We're pretty young," Thomas said. "For the program all the way around, we only have seven upperclassmen, and that's it. We have three juniors and four seniors, and everybody else is younger than that. So, on the varsity itself, we've got a lot of young kids. ... Our objective is, get the young ones playing where they can. It's better to have them playing instead of sitting on the bench."

What the players, young and veteran, offer are options, pieces that Thomas can move around the field.

"On any given day — it just depends on who we play — our lineup's going to look a bit different," Thomas said.

This is Thomas' 16th season in the softball program, her 13th as head coach. Not consecutively, though; she returned last year after taking two years off.

Her varsity assistant will be Nicole Anaya, with Emery Sierra serving as junior varsity coach and Adam Anaya helping out with the jayvees while coaching the C-team.

Thomas has her assistants lined up. She has a team raring to get out on the field and compete. It all starts tonight.

"I'm very optimistic," Thomas said. "I like how hungry we are. We have our saying, 'We rise and stay hungry', and that's what they do. ... I've never had a team like this that puts in so much time wanting to get better."

"We're capable of a lot," Celeste Chavez said. "We have a tournament this weekend (in Las Cruces) and I think we can take that tournament."

2018 schedule

March - 6, at Monterey (Lubbock), 6:30 p.m.; 9, vs. Silver in Las Cruces Tournament, 3 p.m.; 10, Las Cruces Tournament, to be determined; 13, Borger (Tx.), 2 p.m.; 16, Carlsbad, 4 p.m.; 20, Hobbs (2), 4:30 p.m.; 22, Goddard (2), 4:30 p.m.; 27, at Roswell (2), 4:30 p.m.; 31, at Eldorado (2), 1 p.m.

April - 5, Portales, 4:30 p.m.; 7, Manzano (2), 1 p.m.; 14, at Santa Fe (2), 1 p.m.; 20, Sandia (2), 4 p.m.; 24, at Portales, 4:30 p.m.; 28, at La Cueva (2), 1 p.m.


No. Name Pos. Yr.

1 Eleanna Garcia OF Jr.

2 Yasmine Larrea 2B So.

3 Janelle Macias SS Fr.

4 Harley Barber OF Sr.

5 Maribel Gallegos OF Jr.

6 Anyssa Casaus 1B-P Jr.

7 Daisy Dodge C So.

8 Divina Lopez Inf. Fr.

9 Gabriella Garcia OF So.

10 Celeste Chavez P-3B Sr.

11 Marina Tapia SS Sr.

13 Jazmyne Lefevre 3B Sr.

14 Lauren Martin OF Sr.

19 Brittni Chavez 3B-C Jr.

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