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Softball preview: Discovery Canyon poised to make a run
Tanya Ramsey may be modest about saying it, but this could be a big year for Discovery Canyon softball.
The sixth-year coach brings a talent-laden team into the 2012 season fresh off its second appearance at the state tournament in three years – the first coming before the school even had a senior class. If the Thunder can successfully navigate their way through a brutally tough league – the newly formed Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, which features six of last year’s eight Colorado Springs Metro League playoff teams – they could make some serious noise.
“We definitely have a talented core group of girls who are experienced, so I’m excited,” Ramsey said. “This will be our third new league in six years, and it’s going to be a competitive league. But just like every year, our No. 1 goal is to win the league.
“We have to be playing our best ball to do that, because there’s definitely some good teams out there this year. If we do that, we’ll get the opportunity to go on to districts and then hopefully on to state as well.”
A key league matchup takes place right away, as Discovery Canyon visits Falcon on Monday.
Ramsey’s team went 16-6 last season, falling 12-3 in the first round of the 4A state tournament. Most of the Thunder’s top producers are back for 2012, led by CSML Player of the Year Taryn Arcarese, who batted .462 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.
Discovery Canyon has a great one-two punch on the mound, with senior Kacee Schroeder (11-5, 3.03 ERA) and sophomore McKenzie Surface – the CSML co-freshman of the year – (5-1, .457 average) shouldering the bulk of the pitching duties. Add senior outfielders Shelby Hetzel (.378 average, CSML first team) and McKenzie Peters (.306, CSML second team) and the nucleus is there.
“This is probably our most talented team in my six years,” Ramsey said. “I would say that this is probably our closest-knit group. I’ve had a lot of players competing for positions, and that’s definitely not a bad thing for a coach to have. It has definitely made us stronger and is really pushing our players to take it to the next level.”
That next level will not only be a return trip to state, but serious contention for a deep run through the brackets. No team from the Pikes Peak region has ever won a state title.
“We’re really looking to push forward and show that Colorado Springs does have good softball and get the recognition it deserves,” said Arcarese, an all-state selection in 2011. “We have a lot of experienced players, but we also have a lot of new talent we’re really excited about. We’re just excited about coming together and all working toward the same goal, which will hopefully be winning state.”
Schroeder knows she will be a big key to the Thunder’s success this season.
“McKenzie Surface and I are a team, and we’re going to feed off each other and help each other out,” Schroeder said. “We have a saying this year that ‘Together we’re better,’ and I think the team we have is amazing. We’re really excited for the season.”