In a ceremony Angelina College softball coaches Mark and Barbi Mattson present every other year, the Lady Roadrunners welcomed the newest class of signees in Thursday’s celebration at Shands Gymnasium on the AC campus.
With the current team present to welcome the newcomers, AC introduced 13 high school seniors who have signed letters of intent to begin play in the fall of 2019.
As usual, the incoming Lady ‘Runners will wield big bats – a staple of the Mattson approach. However, Mark Mattson said the group will offer more variety than many of his homer-happy teams of the past.
“There are a lot of heavy hitters in this group, and a lot of them are lefties,” Mattson said. “They can drop bunts, hit it out, hit triples.
“It’s a little different than what Barbi and I are used to seeing. They’re very athletic, and we have a lot of multi-sport players. The last time we had this many multi-sport players on our team, we won a national championship. Those multi-sport players seem to adapt so quickly, and they always seem to have a real competitive edge and a great communication factor when they get here.”
This year’s version of the team is sophomore-heavy, with several returning starters – along with some key additions – returning for another push to a national tournament run. Mattson said his current group helped with the bonding process necessary in integrating new faces, no matter what year they arrive.
“Getting large groups of new players is an every other year thing for us,” Mattson said. “We always go big class, small class. The biggest thing to get them to jell is letting them know they can trust us. We did the Book Club this past year, and we noticed our players getting more open with each other, and their relationships get even stronger. We also do so many things in the community, and it just helps bond everyone together even more.”
The new Lady Roadrunners, along with their high schools and home towns, include Jayda Carter, Copperas Cove HS (Copperas Cove); Ebbie Rodriguez, St. Anthony’s Catholic HS (Helotes); Lindsay Picazo, Mansfield Timberview HS (Mansfield); Kaylee Berdoll, Elgin HS (Utley); Caleigh Robinson, Belton HS (Temple); Madison Murdock, Little Cypress-Mauriceville HS (Orange); Savannah Robertson, Magnolia West HS (Magnolia); Kaitlyn Odom, Woodville HS (Woodville); Andrea Rodriguez, Austin HS (Austin); Anne Elise Gest, Joshua HS (Joshua); Skylar Wooten, Klein Collins HS (Spring); Brenda Sanchez, Bryan HS (Bryan); and Smiley Radke, Lufkin HS (Lufkin).
The Lady Roadrunners open their 2019 season on January 26 at the Coastal Bend Tournament in Beeville.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games.
Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.
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