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Roswell trio leading Mustangs in softball

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From left to right Adrianna Horton, Mykaela Olivas and Mykaya Olivas

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The last time this trio was on the softball field together it was in the New Mexico State softball tournament. This was a game in which the Lady Coyotes were pushed beyond the limit because a bad call forced them into the loser’s bracket. With their season on the verge of extinction down to their final four outs, Roswell’s catcher Mykaela Olivas stood in the batter’s box with a full count on her.

Olivas looked down to third-base coach Art Sandoval. Sandoval went through his gyrations and finally made a swing of the bat with his hands, as he gave her the swing away sign. On the next pitch, she hit the ball over the leftfield fence to tie the game 1-1 against Bloomfield. That home run forced the game into extra innings as Olivas’ sister Mykaya set the side down in order in the ninth inning as the Lady Coyotes went on to win 4-2.

Nine months later, former Roswell’s teammates, third-baseman Adrianna Horton, pitcher Mykaya Olivas and Mykaela Olivas, are suitemates and teammates at the University of Southwest Mustangs. All three of the players have played well in the Mustangs’ first six games with Horton batting .500 in her first six games going 3-for-6.

“I have been surprised by Adrianna (Horton) so far through camp,” Southwest coach Ron Landschoot said. “I have moved her from playing just third base to second and the outfield. If she continues to hit the way she has, I will have to find a way to get her bat in the lineup. I used her as DP (Designated player). She is a slapper, but she is starting to put the ball on the bat.”

Horton has adjusted on the field and in the classroom making the Provost List in the fall semester, her first semester of taking classes. She wants to major in psychology. To Horton, college is a faster pace mentally and physically. The pitchers throw faster, and that has been one of the adjustments she has had to make to playing college ball.

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“It is the best feeling in the world, Horton said, “knowing that I’m out here doing what I want.” Having the twins here has been a blessing in disguise; they have helped me when I have gotten homesick or had a bad day. Having coach Jessica Zamora here from RHS has been like having a little coach Sandoval around.”

 

Mykaya

Mykaya Olivas has pitched 14.1 innings, given up 20 hits, struck out 10 batters and has an ERA of 2.44 for the Lady Mustangs. When she has been up to the plate as a hitter, she went 2-for-4 and is batting .500.

Mykaya thinks the adjustment from high school to college is different; the girls are more disciplined. Furthermore, they are faster and stronger. Since arriving on campus, the girls have been involved in a conditioning program to help them get stronger. She found lifting and the soreness that went with it difficult at first.

“I myself work on getting stronger,” Olivas said. “We do a lot of strength and conditioning (in the) weight room. I was nervous when we got her, it was weird to get to know other people. I get a few strikeouts here and there. Coach Sandoval helped by working on ourselves only.”

Coach Landschoot has been impressed with not only her speed but that her best pitch has been her changeup since high school. If you look at how softball view’s pitchers and the speed, they throw. Landschoot thinks to make an Olympic team, a pitcher has to throw consistently at 70 mph, 65mph is Division I and 60 mph is Division II.

“Makaya is right there at 60 mph,” Landschoot said. “She has a great changeup. I’m impressed by the quality of her changeup. She throws it with great control and location. “Makaya has the potential to be All-Conference. I have three pitchers who throw 60 mph, and she has the potential to be No. 1.”

 

Mykaela

Mykaela Olivas has played in four games this season and has gone 0-for-4, with a fielding percentage of .857.

Mykaela feels like the difference between catching in high school, and college is the conditioning to the back of her legs. She has done a lot more running and throwing than she did in high school. Hitting is good for her at the college level. The pitchers she is facing throw at speeds she is comfortable hitting at. The pitches that catch her off guard is the junk ball’s pitchers throw.

“I look for pitchers who throw the ball right down the middle and inside,” Makaela said. “I’m more excited about playing in college than nervous. Coach Sandoval prepared us for college by staying on us to try to make us better players. He also never let me get down on myself. He always pushed me. Having two other Roswell players (Makaya Olivas and Adrienne Horton) has made it easier for me. Jessica Zamora has been a big help to all of us from Roswell.”

Mykaela’s advice to making it at the next level for high school athletes is not to be thin-skinned and make sure you’re disciplined and want to be successful. Her favorite memory was hitting the game-tying home run against Bloomfield, and her toughest loss was against Kirtland Central.