By Andrew Luberda
The 2012-13 edition of the Panthers’ softball team included six freshmen and two sophomores among the 13-player roster. Despite their youth and inexperience, the Panthers had enough talent to reach the State Championship Tournament. With a year of experience under their belts, the young Panthers expect to be even stronger this season.
The Panthers began tryouts for the varsity team on Feb. 10, 2014. First-year varsity head coach Martin Navarrette said the plan is to have roster finalized by Feb. 14. Navarrette acknowledged he is taking over team with plenty of talent. He cautioned, however, that most players expected to make the final roster have some kinks to work out first.
“Most girls have not thrown a softball since July during the Senior League Softball Little League State tournament, where the girls did very well,” Navarrette said. “Most of our girls are three sport athletes and it’s very hard to focus on just softball.”
Having a number of three-sport athletes on a roster is good for any team. Navarrette knows it’s just a matter of time before the players are performing up to their potential.
“I am very optimistic and excited to help these young women get back to the playoffs,” he said. “I feel that the returning players, including this year’s freshman, have a real good chance to get deeper into the playoffs this year.”
The experience from last year was important to players in learning about the higher level of competition and what it takes to succeed. Navarrette expects the returning players to “come back with more fire and drive to improve on last year’s performance.”
Just like last year’s freshmen class, the new incoming freshmen have plenty of talent as well. The newcomers won’t have to look far to find teammates with recent experience playing at the varsity level.
As a new coach, Navarrette was asked about the expectations of his players on and off the field.
“Athletics are a privilege not a rite,” Navarrette answered. “I know most of the young ladies going out for softball and I’m sure they will make the community very proud in representing Superior High School.”
Navarrette announced that Dora Salcido, Mikee Preciado and Senyssa Beard will be the Panthers’ coaching staff.
The final roster will be published once it is announced and made available by Coach Navarrette.
The Panthers open their season at home on Feb. 27 versus Miami (AZ). The game is scheduled for 4 p.m.