CCC softball squad looks to generate winning reputation
After finishing 0-28 in 2011, group hopes for successful year, wins four games against CCSF
Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 16:03
The Comet softball team has not had a winning reputation as it has won only 18 of 139 games it has played since 2006.
For the 2012 season, Contra Costa College looks to erase its losing ways through the efforts of its new coach Otis Yelverton, along with the squad's mix of veteran and freshman players.
Yelverton, who also serves as the defensive coordinator for the Comet football team, took over the softball squad in January once the coaching position was vacated.
Former coach Ed Miller began working as the college the equipment manager during the fall semester.
"I felt compassion for the (players)," Yelverton said. "I talked to the team about its previous season and I felt like I wanted to help coach this team."
Last season, the Comets faced hardships, finishing 0-28 overall, 0-24 in the Bay Valley Conference.
The season began tumultuously when some players got into a fight off campus. The roster of 17 soon dwindled to nine.
"We had some problems at the end of the fall (2010) semester when a couple of (players) got into a fight, which is something I never thought would happen here," Miller told The Advocate last year. "Because of that fight I had to tell players that they couldn't be on the team."
In addition, because some remaining players were enrolled in fewer than 12 units each, they weren't eligible to compete, Miller said.
With a shorthanded roster, the team cancelled 15 of its preseason games and forfeited five BVC games.
Sophomore outfielder Myeshia Ellison said a lack of a sufficient roster could be blamed for CCC's difficult season.
"I was simply frustrated and angry last season," Ellison said. "I was disappointed with myself and my team."
Despite entering the season with players unsure about joining the softball team, Yelverton was able to convince them to focus on the upcoming season instead of the ones prior.
"Getting the team to trust me has been the biggest journey since becoming the coach," Yelverton said. "I started out with only four players and now I have 14."
The roster consists of players from the 2010 team, which won 16 games, infielder Monique Martell, who played on the 2009 team, some players from last season and some freshmen.
Sophomore pitcher Inez Hudson, who played on the 2010 team, said, "It has been good coming back to the program. I've been out for a while and I miss the sport."
The squad has already exceeded last season's win total as the Comets are currently 4-8 overall, gaining their only wins over City College of San Francisco (0-12 overall, 0-4 in the Coast-North Division) in two preseason doubleheaders.
"They went 0-28 last year and I want to win more than 19 games and make the playoffs," Yelverton said. "I know that we'll take some lumps this season but I'm going to bring the same mentality I have in football over to this program."
Freshman players are excited about entering conference play and are hoping for a successful season.
"We have a lot of potential on this team and good coaches who focus on all areas on the field," freshman outfielder Summer Cayton said. "We have a good chance of winning a lot of games this year."
CCC opens its BVC play Thursday with a doubleheader against Mendocino College (4-9 overall) in Ukiah at 1 and 3 p.m.
Currently the Comets lead the BVC in batting average (.385), hits (130), runs (102) and home runs (11).
Also, CCC has the best hitters in the conference. Ellison has a conference-leading .564 batting average, Martell is second (.543), and infielder Kelsey Leintz and outfielder Lynn Iosua are tied for third (.500).
Despite its success hitting the ball, the team has faced early troubles closing games as the team has lost half of its games in the final innings.
Yelverton, however, said he still has high expectations from his team.
"I want to be competitive and play like we are already the BVC champs," Yelverton said. "There are girls on this team that can leave here and be successful at a four-year school."