A Look at the Hawk’s Softball Season
The ReSporter will start highlighting teams, as the Spring Sports start to hatch. We start with our Hawk Softball team and what this group of ladies might have in store for us this upcoming season.
CL’s schedule has had a major change as they have switched back to the San Marcos tournament after going to Blanco & Johnson City these past two campaigns.
Last year, Canyon Lake’s softball team was red-hot approaching their district games, and then with three straight games, of one run losses, the Hawks could never dig out of that cavernous hole.
The Blanco/Johnson City Tournaments did not have a lot of bigger schools which gave a false sense of accomplishment as they entered their district schedule.
When the Hawks raise this season’s curtain, they will start this year without Alexis Robinson being on their roster, as she was on every manager’s line-up card since her freshman year.
The Hawks have had this situation before after Missy Romero graduated and left Canyon Lake after their only playoff season.
Romero finished her Senior Year with a 1.05 era from the circle while batting a .429 average.
Robinson also finished her Senior Year with a .398 batting average and a 2.20 era from the pitching circle.
There are some differences that can be entered into this formula to help give us ideas on just how this year might be different in the changing of the guard of these two Hawk pitchers.
First off, Canyon Lake has welcomed the best group of Softball players to the diamond from Mountain Valley after this group won district last season. This team ran the table last May after beating all comers from schools that feed Smithson Valley and Canyon High School.
Another major difference is having a much deeper pitching staff as Robinson was not the only player in the circle last season and this Freshman group is deep at this position too.
Lauren Mentzer will start her Junior year with two years of experience in her pocket and Maggie Banks also saw action pitching to a catcher last year.
Carley Dubois and Kat Weber will have some good Senior leadership but as seniors they will be outnumbered by a bevy of underclassman and seeing how that might translate for this team will remain to be seen.
The Hawks changing their tournaments from Blanco/Johnson City to San Marcos will up the competition for sure as CL seemed to be outclassed when the district games started last year.
A main factor on how this year’s group of girls make their mark this time around will be defensively.
That was a major problem last season as errors led to so many unearned runs, the offense found it hard to keep up.
Need proof? Of the 131 runs scored on Canyon Lake…..the pitchers had 54 that were earned.
Let that sink in and you get the idea on how tough it is to get wins especially when you play district games.
Canyon Lake had their most stolen bases by finishing with 101 and this year’s team has a chance of topping that mark.
The speed starts with Senior Dubois as this lead-off batter can make a simple single into a triple after stealing 2nd and 3rd base. Dubois will be a key in the outfield as she will be in her fourth go-around in centerfield.
Good defense comes from the center of the field and Dubois will have the speed to turn singles to outs and doubles to singles while patrolling the acreage in the outfield.
Graduate Kirsten Jones was a huge surprise in last year’s line-up and will be a hard player to replace as Jones left CL with a lofty .589 on base percentage.
Now, Canyon Lake will populate this year’s line-up with several Freshman players and how this group performs will let you know if this team might be playoff material after those district games are in the books.
Kat Weber will enter her 4th season with a lot of experience and looks to improve on her .380 batting average as she has improved each year.
batting ave. on base ave. slugging ave. 2016 .380 .462 .532 2015 .392 .444 .419 2014 .266 .382 .328 overall .346 .427 .419
Another player CL will look for carrying a heavy work load will be Junior Lauren Mentzer.
This is an understatement, as Mentzer will have a major role in the pitching circle with the loss of Robinson and this young lady has made her presence in the batter’s box having a Hawk Season best with 10 doubles her Sophomore campaign.
How Mentzer handles the added load of work in the circle and batter’s box will give CL a chance of seeing if the Hawks can finish in the playoff realm.
Those First 2 Years for Mentzer Batting ave. extra base hits on base ave. slugging ave. 2015 .310 1 .385 .328 2016 .360 10 .409 .477 Pitching innings pitched era bb so W L S 2015 36.2 4.64 30 22 4 4 0 2016 62.0 2.82 26 66 3 7 1
This brings us to Bailey Bryan, as this Sophomore had a stellar season debuting with a great bat that Hawk fans can hope for at the plate while improving her infield play.
CL will find themselves with a higher population of freshman on this year’s club and one item of knowledge most older players can relay to the younger stalwarts is how different pre-district is compared to those games that matter.
Bryan finished last year with a .350 batting average and that will give you an idea that this player might settle in with a good bat anywhere in the line-up and on the outside has the potential matching Jones’ average and on base percentage that will keep innings going and putting more players on the bases for eventual runs.
The lesson is seeing how Bryan’s overall batting average suffered when district games started as she finished with a .222 average for that set of games.
That is not a knock on Bryan as the veterans suffered last season during those district contests too.
Canyon Lake has many players that will contribute and it will be fun to see who those players that might raise their game and help bring this year to a memorable one for the Hawk Nation.
The Hawks first scrimmage comes January 30th which is right around the diamond as the anticipation starts to build!!