The Sweetwater High School softball program fi-nally reached the next level in 2012.
By finishing third in its district, Sweetwater ended a 15-year playoff drought, while making it to the post-season for only the third time in the programâ€™s 17-year history.
Now the challenge is to repeat and build on that success. Sweetwater has yet to win a playoff game, los-ing to Iowa Park in bi-dist-trict last season. However, the 2013 Lady Mustangs â€” who begin their season by hosting Colorado City on Tuesday â€” just might have the right combination to pull off that feat.
Tony Heredia returns as the head coach, a position he previously held here from 2002-04. Heredia, who is also a former SHS head baseball coach, was hired this past sum-mer when Bobby Wil-liams left for Llano.
Heredia hopes last yearâ€™s experience is just the start of bigger and better things for the program. â€śMy main goal is to continue what was started last year, and develop our JV for the future,â€ť he said. â€śWeâ€™ve got a pretty big senior class coming back.â€ť
The returning seniors who earned all-district honors for the Lady Mustangs last year are infielder Suede Shirley, pitcher Maty Mont-gomery and twin outfielders Kelsi and Kendra Crosson, all of whom have been on the varsity since they were freshmen. Another senior, catcher Keyli Turner, rec-eived all-district honorable mention as did sophomore utility player Megan Holsey. Shirley and both Crossons will start late because they are on the basketball team which is in the playoffs. Another senior with lots of varsity experience is Jerren Villa, who will probably be used primarily at second base and catcher.
Heredia hopes the team can jell in time to make a strong run in District 4-3A.
â€śOur seniors should be the leaders and Iâ€™m expect-ing that from them,â€ť Her-edia said. â€śI expect them to be hungry and take us a step further than last year. Iâ€™d like for them to leave a championship flag behind.â€ť
Junior Alyssa Heredia, the coachâ€™s daughter, will be used at first base with Holsey at shortstop. Two freshmen, Morgan Gomez and Naomi Gonzales, are competing at third base. The other outfield candid-ates include juniors Lena Lovelady and Katherine Toland, sophomore Isabel Mendez and freshmen Mel-issa Moncada and Alyssa Villanueva. Heredia will also pitch. â€śIâ€™m hoping that our young talent can blend in well with the older play-ers,â€ť Heredia said.