Home Sports Local Sports Goddard softball has a new coach and attitude

Goddard softball has a new coach and attitude

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Goddard’s Amber Aguilar and her teammates celebrate after a win against Espanola Valley Saturday. (Steve Notz Photo)

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Goddard girls’ softball has a new coach with a new attitude. Former Rockets’ player Katie Shanor was chosen in February to resurrect a program that has fallen on hard times during recent years.

Shanor, a 2017 graduate of Wittenberg University, feels her youth will be an asset. She knows what it’s like to grind on days when she didn’t feel like playing or practicing. Shanor played under coach Jay Edgett and was on the 2013 team that lost to Gallup, 6-0 in the first round of the state tournament. In that game, Shanor injured herself as a senior but managed to get a base hit.

The last time the Lady Rockets played in the New Mexico Activities Association state tournament was in 2015 when they lost to Mayfield. Not so far removed from the state tournament, Shanor is looking forward to bringing a positive change and winning attitude to the girls she coaches.

With two straight victories to open the season against Española Valley, (6-3, 8-2).

“It’s really incredible,” Shanor said. “I was proud of the girls. I think it was a confidence booster for everyone, the coaches and our coaching staff, and the girls. It makes me excited. I was really excited before, with the two wins under our belts, it makes us really positive.”

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Shanor is quick to credit her assistant coaches, C-team coach Frank Martinez, noting the similarities and differences he brings to the team. Martinez is the lone holdover from C. W. Hamilton’s coaching staff. Ashley Sommerville is the junior varsity coach. Also, on the staff is former Rocket teammate Hayley McFadin.

“All my coaching staff and I are on the same page,” Shanor said. “We have C-team getting ready for junior varsity and junior varsity getting ready for varsity. For instance, junior varsity is 4-1 right now. Our junior varsity is very young; we have a lot of eighth-graders. Our varsity is pretty young. We only have four seniors.”

Because she is young, Shanor thinks that will be to her advantage. Only five years removed from playing high school softball, she lets her players know not to take playing softball for granted. She stresses goal setting and how to accomplish team goals as well as an individual goal.

Shanor feels this team has the ability to make the state playoffs. As a coach, she would like for her team to go through the process of playing situational softball and playing hard. Her goal of winning one more game than last year is on the list. Last season, Goddard went 7-18 and only won one game in district.

“I’ve encouraged the girls to focus on their goals,” Shanor said. “The girls believe they can make it to the state playoffs this year. My team wants to get there, and they want to get past that first round. Using that mentality of being young has been helpful to them. My team has been very respectful and responsive, and it’s been fun.”

The Lady Rockets’ lineup could change depending on the teams they are playing, and who’s playing well at the time. With 16 players on the roster, look for all of them to see action this season. Look for freshmen Alexis Ramirez and Michelle James to see playing time. Shanor plans on all four of her seniors to play a big role on the team and in leadership; seniors Haydenn Allen, Abrieana Guevara, Amber Aguilar and Addison Bailey to play a key role in Goddard’s resurgence.

Look for pitching to be the strength of the team this season. On the bump has been impressive eighth-grader Krishawna Casaus. She will be joined by last season’s star, Jordan Rincon. Rincon came in relief for the first game this season after being injured. So far, according to Shanor, the surprise of the camp has been lefthander Jazymn Prudencio. This may be Goddard’s deepest pitching staffs in the last few years.

“She has surprised us all,” Shanor said. “Last year, she wasn’t playing a lot due to injury in basketball. She has really blossomed. Our infield we have enough to go around twice. Each player is good and they keep bringing stuff to the table. During games, we keep getting good surprises.”

One of Shanor’s biggest things is her players must earn their positions. She continually stresses to her team that they are representing themselves, their family and the Goddard program. Whatever they do on the field, they do it to their best and full potential.

“My players know they can make a few mistakes,” Shanor said. “But I want them to stay positive. I want us always talking in the dugout and picking each other up and knowing the situation; I just need them to give me their best. That’s another thing I use, being so young is, you’re not guaranteed anything after you graduate. I tell them we’re blessed to play the game. Once you’re out of the game, you don’t realize how much of an impact it had on your life.”

Shanor realizes it takes time to build a program. Goddard is starting over with new coaches and attitude. Shanor wants her team to play to their full-potential beyond the wins and losses. Shanor wants to make a difference in the lives of her players.

“I want our team to get used to winning,” Shanor said.

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