|February 14, 2013
Hillcat Softball 2013 Preview
After a doubleheader sweep of Bacone College Wednesday the Rogers State
softball teams home opener is this Sunday, Feb. 17 with a doubleheader
versus William Woods University at 12 p.m. at the newly renamed Diamond
CLAREMORE, Okla. - A season ago the Rogers State softball team finished
with a 36-23 record but a Sooner Athletic Conference record of 9-17 and
seventh place finish left Hillcat head coach Mark Dicus wanting more.
Frankly weve fallen short the last two years, said Dicus.
Not to make excuses weve fallen short.
Sooner Athletic Conference coaches voted the Hillcats to finish sixth
in the seven team league. But a crop of newcomers joining an already veteran,
experience laden squad has RSUs fifth year head coach expecting
big things from the 2013 Softball Cats.
This group is by far the most athletic group weve ever had
and weve had some good groups, Dicus explained of this years
squad. Not to put too much pressure on them but not only are we
talented but weve got great depth.
The self-proclaimed Fab Five returns for their fourth season
on the Hill. The first recruiting class signed by Dicus in 2009 has won
105 games over the past three seasons.
the Fab Five, I cant say enough about them as
young people. Theyre going to graduate, theyre going to
be Hillcats true and true.
Consisting of Ashlie Fauchier, Katrina Loy, Linsey Curtis, Ashley Dillman
and Shelby Brogdon the Fab Five looks to leave their mark
on the program in their final season.
We thought wed get the job done a lot quicker and we havent,
declared Dicus. Its a special group because not only are
they good softball players, theyre super people. Theyre
people you want to be around.
Returning for her fourth season at shortstop is Ashlie Fauchier, a three-time
All-Sooner Athletic Conference selection. Last season she started all
59 games for the Hillcats, finishing top three on the team in 11 offensive
Its on the defensive end that Fauchier draws the praise of her
head coach. Fauchier is probably the best defensive player in
our conference bar none. She is a highlight reel waiting to happen,
The stats back up the Hillcat head coachs praise of his senior
shortstop as she finished last season with a .972 fielding percentage
where she earned a SAC Gold Glove.
At third base Shona Guerrero returns
for her second season at the hot corner for the Hillcats.
With her and Fauchier on that side of the infield you kind of
hope balls are hit to the left side of the infield, explained
the Hillcats fifth-year head coach.
With a .909 fielding percentage from the hot corner, Guerrero has a
quick, accurate arm and good glove according to Dicus.
an amazing defensive player pretty close up there to Brooks Robinson,
Backing up Guerrero will be Linsey Curtis a
hard worker that brings power to the plate and is well known in the
conference and the nation for her prolific home run hitting.
At second the Cats will look to Iowa Western Community College transfer
Cailin Simpson to step into a starting role. A slick defender that batted
.344 with 74 hits and 55 RBI a season ago in the NJCAA ranks, Simpson
will be backed up by Megan Williams.
Williams served as the Hillcats second baseman for most of last season
but will look to add depth in the middle infield in 2013. Sophomore
Tory Fitch can play both second and shortstop. Dicus likes the effort
that Fitch continues to put in to get better.
Returning two-year starter Taran Threet and junior college transfer
Toni Shurtliff will vie for the starting spot at first base. Threet
started all 59 games for RSU in 2012 and batted .289 in 180 at-bats.
Shurtliff joins the Hillcats from Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa
where she batted .333 with 56 hits and 32 RBI as a sophomore last year.
Dicus expects for both to see a lot of time on the right side of the
After missing all
of her junior season due to injury Shelby Brogdon returns for the Cats
in 2013. Brogdon could see time at first base but is most dangerous
at the plate with 20 homeruns in just two seasons and a slugging percentage
Brogdon can go in and play first base and be the designated player
some, Dicus said. Shes a great clutch hitter and someone
that you can bring off the bench and shell deliver.
The lone freshman in the cast of Hillcat newcomers, Erin Patrick, is
a hard worker that could see time at first base.
Depth in the infield and throughout the team has the Hillcat head coach
most excited about the upcoming year.
Thats probably the biggest thing about our team now. Weve
always had a good softball team but weve never had near the depth
we have now, Dicus discussed. Weve seen it spike in
intra-squad scrimmages and kids are actually pushing each other.
A season ago Laura Fleck was forced to be the Hillcats everyday pitcher
as she won 28 games in her 54 appearances in the circle. The southpaw
pitched in 292.2 innings in her first year in a RSU uniform out of Muskogee
(Okla.) High School.
This year Fleck will share time with Yolanda Rios a junior transfer
from Midland Junior College. Rios recorded a 25-8 record as a sophomore
with nine saves with a 2.77 ERA. In 225.1 innings pitched last year
she struck out 202 batters. A right handed pitcher, Rios was effective
as a freshman at Midland finishing with a 22-4 record with six saves
and a 2.26 ERA in 180 innings.
If Fleck can get close to what she did last year the two will
blend together really well and give us a one-two punch or a staff that
will work together really well, hand-in-hand, said Dicus.
Dicus explained what Rios brings to the circle, We look for great
things from her and can be a difference maker in the circle. Shes
got great control and a variety of pitches that will compliment her
arsenal all the way through.
Another addition comes in the form of new pitching coach Andrea Vaughn.
Most recently the head coach at Oologah High School, Vaughn has done
things to improve the pitchers in a few weeks that are evident to the
Hillcats head coach. Dicus is excited to see what the guidance of Vaughn
along with the mixture of pitching styles will do for RSU.
Linsey Curtis adds another option inside the circle as she continues
to improve every day. Dicus likes the drop ball that Curtis possesses
in her repertoire and believes the senior will be an inning eater.
After starting 58 of the Hillcats 59 games at catcher a season ago Niki
Keck returns for her senior season in 2013. Despite being the incumbent
Keck isnt necessarily guaranteed the job in 2013.
Odessa College transfer Desireé Ayarzagoitia made a push in the
fall for the starting job. After batting .389 with 65 hits, 18 doubles,
eight home runs and 47 RBI as a sophomore a season ago in the NJCAA.
Shes probably better on the offensive end, yet Keck has
good knowledge and understanding of what were trying to do. How
they blend together will be interesting, discussed Dicus of the
A third player, Jamie King, could be put in the mix behind the plate
due to her ability offensively.
King is a mult-faceted player that can play in the outfield and
catch, said Dicus. Were trying to figure out how to
keep her bat in the line-up, keep Desireeés bat in the
line-up and Keck, a kid that played every game for us last year.
In left field the Hillcats return three-year starter Katrina Loy while
incorporating newcomer Jackie Flores.
Loy swings a big bat and will probably be our clean-up hitter
to start off when we open the season. Shes a solid defender in
leftfield and knows where the ball is supposed to go, the Hillcats
A Claremore, Okla. native, Loy started all 59 games in left field last
season and was second on the team in home runs with seven. She was named
a Captial One CoSIDA Academic All-American as a junior.
Flores give a little more range defensively as she can cover gap
to line and run balls down, explained Dicus of the Odessa College
transfer. She gives us a lot of depth in the outfield and automatically
we become more athletic.
Candace Monigold will take over centerfield duties after a two-year
career at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, Okla.
Dicus praised his
addition in centerfield, Shes a smooth operator out there
and covers gap-to-gap well. Monigold has great hands, great range, takes
great angles and does it effortlessly. She looks like shes been
out there her whole life.
Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa transfer Katie Ellington could
round out the line-up for the Hillcats in right field.
The Hillcat head
coach explained the Bishop Kelley product, Ellington is a JUCO
transfer that is super-fast with a powerful arm, powerful bat. Shes
very athletic covering line to gap and a lot of ground. Shell
be a surprise on the offensive end with the numbers she can put up.
King brings good range, gap-to-gap and could be a lead-off hitter playing
a lot in right field, sometime at catcher and designated player.
Ashlee Dillman can play all three of the outfield spots and is a valued
piece to the coaching staff due to her versatility. Her awareness on
the base paths and experience has Dicus believing she could have a great
The home opener at the newly renamed Diamond Sports Complex as William
Woods comes to town for a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 17. WWU received
four votes in the NAIA Softball Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll
giving RSU an early test.
We never back away from anyone and we always build a strong schedule,
explained Dicus of his scheduling philosophy. We build a tough
schedule to prepare us for postseason play. To prepare us for the SAC
tournament and to try and get a national tournament bid. Thats
possible because the SAC comes with such a great reputation nationally.
RSU travels to three tournaments during the season the first in Wichita,
Kan. at the Friends University Tournament on March 1-2. A week later
the Cats travel to McPherson, Kan. playing in the McPherson College
Tournament. The following week RSU plays in its final tournament on
March 15-16 at the David Fillmore Memorial Tournament in Springifield,
Mo hosted by Evangel University.
We go to three tournaments early. At Friends well play some
ranked teams, McPherson well play one or two nationally ranked
teams in pool play and then at Evangel that might be the toughest of
the three, said Dicus.
Sooner Athletic Conference play gets started March 5th on the road in
Chickasha, Okla. facing USAO. The conference home opener comes two days
later as the Lady Drovers come to the Diamond Sports Complex on March
March 29th the Hillcats travel to preseason No. 2-ranked Lubbock Christian
for four games in two days. Preseason No. 16 St. Gregorys comes
to Claremore on April 6 while preseason No. 4 Oklahoma City closes out
the Softball Cats regular season with games on April 23rd in Claremore
and a road trip on April 27th.
Dicus discussed the slate of conference games.
This is a year we can battle evenly throughout that field. Then
throw in Oklahoma Baptist which has a great team and good coach. Mid-America
Christian is picked last in the conference but in this conference last
is still pretty good. Their coach is there for his second season, hes
a hall of fame coach and hell upgrade that program so the SAC
in itself will be a battle every day.
Despite a tough conference slate and a non-conference schedule packed
with quality opponents. Dicus believes the experience will prove the
Hillcat battle tested especially with a strong group of upperclassmen
on the roster.
The schedule is probably tougher than any schedule weve
ever had. But this group of seniors collectively has done a pretty good
job and compiled a lot of wins and not a lot could do that.