Sports in the News
Softball 2012 Preview: New Coach Williams Invigorates Lancers
New Pasadena City College women's softball head coach Brittany Williams is excited about her first season in charge of the Lancers' program. With a combination of returning players and a strong crop of freshmen, Williams feels her team can compete well enough in the state's strongest conference-the South Coast.
"We have a fantastic group of girls, who have the potential do some great things this year," she said. "They have the ability to take the program to the next level. We're going to surprise a lot of people."
Only two players are coming back from a rough 9-30 season last year for the Lancers, a team in which Williams served as an assistant coach. However, the two Lancers returning from 2010 may have been the team's top two most talented individuals in pitcher-outfielder Kayla Moore and middle infielder-outfielder Nikki Salas.
Moore (pictured from last year) led the team with 35 hits, batting .321 overall with two home runs and 15 RBI. Although she pitched only 31 innings, Moore has worked hard in the off season to become the team's top pitcher coming into this year. Salas led the Lancers defensively with 71 assists as she played shortstop, second base and centerfield. A .276 batter, her four triples led the team.
"Kayla has improved a ton since last year, and has developed a few new pitches to go with her fastball," Williams said. "Both Nikki and Kayla provide speed on the basepaths and both can hit for power."
Brittany Skoien, a third baseman-utility player, and Ilene Suleymanyan, an infielder, are returning sophomores from two seasons ago. Redshirts last year, Skoien is a skilled defensive player who batted .313 in conference games in 2010. Suleymanyan served that Lancers' team as a top pinch hitter and played first base. Both players came originally from Glendale High.
"One of our weaknesses last year was defense, but Brittany and Ilene will help improve that area," Williams said.
Twelve freshmen join the 2012 squad with top newcomers including pitcher Bronwyn Stewart (Providence High, Burbank), utility player Maddy Gianoli (Bellarmine-Jefferson, Burbank) and Alexandra Oddenino, an outfielder who previously attended Monrovia High.
Stewart, an All-Liberty League selection as a senior, batted .373 with 21 RBI and led Providence with nine pitching wins in the circle. "She adds depth to the pitching staff and has great movement on all of her pitches. Bronwyn can hit with power too."
Gianoli batted .523 and helped lead Bell-Jeff win the Santa Cruz League title and go all the way to the CIF Southern Section Divison VII finals. A switch hitter, Gianoli is also figures to be one of PCC's top infielders in her first collegiate season. She was picked to the Burbank Leader All-Area Team as a First Team all-league choice.
The rest of the Lancers' incoming class includes pitcher Elizabeth Aguilar and infielder Viviana Ordaz (both from Pasadena High); catcher Cecilia Chavez (La Puente), first baseman Danielle Duran (San Gabriel Mission), first baseman-catcher Natalie Ficocelli (Providence), outfielder Alyssa Gonzalez (Azusa), outfielder Elizabeth Luna (Lincoln), pitcher Casey Ramirez (Glendale), and catcher Nicole Valencia (LA Wilson).
Williams keeps long-time assistant Mary Geer and Stephanie Yuen on her assistant coaching staff and has added her father, Roger Williams, an experienced high school coach, to the group.
PCC opens the season Friday, Jan. 27 when the Lancers play a pair of games as part of the Glendale College Classic tournament at the Glendale Sports Complex. The team opens with an 11 a.m. game v. host Glendale and then plays at 3 p.m. v. Grossmont College. The Lancers' home opener takes place Friday, Feb. 3 in a 2 p.m. game against Oxnard.
All PCC home games are played on the team's off-campus field--Robinson Park--at 1081 N. Fair Oaks in Pasadena.
Release Date: 01/25/12