News: Softball Outlook Bright Under New Coach Tantlinger
New Pasadena City College women's softball head coach Monica Tantlinger knows the hard work that it takes to move a program in the right direction. Her experience includes her coaching in NCAA Division I programs like Cal State Fullerton (player and coach), UC Riverside, and Purdue University. She hopes to teach her PCC student-athletes the value of "work ethic" as they enter a new season in 2014.
While Tuesday's Robinson Park season opener didn't go the Lancers way, a 9-0 loss to perennially strong Antelope Valley, Tantlinger was excited to see her team in game action and get her head coaching debut out of the way.
"Part of the process is learning from defeat," she said. "One thing that I like about our team make-up is that we have a group that isn't short on confidence, and players who are already buying into how important it is to go hard and fight hard every at bat and every inning. It's going to be exciting to watch them improve and reach their potential."
The Lancers have a strong sophomore base with the return of All-South Coast Conference players in infielders Katelyn Thordarason (.392, 29 RBI), a shortstop last year who is moving to third base, and Audrey Serna (.408, 26 RBI), who will play both first and second base this season. Catcher Allison Lacey (.274, 20 RBI), first baseman-designated player Sara Quintero (.284, 24 RBI), and outfielder Vanessa Contreras (.270, 14 RBI) are also key lettermen.
Newcomer utility player Breanna Rodrigo (Temple City High, .321 batter as a senior) could be the most talented of 10 incoming freshmen. Rodrigo already showed some of her versatility in the opener in being the starting pitcher before also playing centerfield and shortstop in the contest.
"One of our team strengths is defense," Tantlinger said. "We have some strong arms and good gloves in the outfield and infield. Our pitching is going to be a work in progress, but we can turn to two starters in Rodrigo and Casey Ramirez. We also have a group of players that can play a variety of positions, so we have flexibility."
Ramirez, a lefty who returns from two seasons ago, shined in relief against AVC as she hurled 3-1/3 innings of 5-hit ball with no earned runs (three unearned). Ramirez picked up three wins and hurled 67 innings as a PCC freshman in 2012.
The rest of the Lancers 2014 roster includes sophomore outfielders in Elizabeth Luna and Viviana Ordaz as well as shortstop Maddy Gianoli (all three returning from the 2012 team). The freshmen class has potential regulars in Vanessa Cortez (infielder, Bell), Karen Najera (infielder, Maywood Academy), Samantha Duran (infielder, San Gabriel High), Alejandra Villasenor (second baseman, Glendale's Hoover High), and Justine Zavala (second base, Los Altos). Other first-year collegians are Alissa Barcena (pitcher-OF, Hoover High), Estelle Glorioso (infielder, Providence), Lyandra Opbroek (infielder, Covina), and Jennifer Pegg (pitcher-DP, Temple City).
The Lancers next will play in the College of the Desert Best on Grass Tournament on Friday-Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1. PCC will play two games under the lights at Civic Center Park on Friday beginning with a 5:30 p.m. game v. Imperial Valley, then an 8 p.m. contest v. host COD.
[Photo--Third baseman Karen Najera puts the tag on an Antelope Valley runner during the Lancers' season opener Tuesday at Robinson Park, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 01/29/2014