After coming close to making a trip to the NJCAA World Series, the Alvin Community College baseball team is looking to take that extra step in the 2014 season. The ACC softball team will have a new coach and plans to build on experience gained from a disappointing season.
The Lady Dolphins will be taking the field this year with a new head coach. Alvin native Rudi Cantu took over the head coach position after serving as an assistant coach for two years.
She will take the place of Loryn Johnson, who stepped down in 2013 to take a position with Alvin ISD.
Cantu played alongside Johnson on the Alvin High School softball team and played college softball at the University of Texas-San Antonio. “I feel very good being in Alvin,” Cantu said. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to be here. I’m excited.”
The Lady Dolphins ended their season last year with a 16-32 record. With 12 sophomores returning this season, Cantu said the team will be more dominating this year in NJCAA Division 14 play.
One of the biggest improvements the Lady Dolphins will see is their pitching, which is all sophomores. Hurling through the 2013 season gave them a lot of experience that will help them this year, Cantu said.
“I’m looking for my sophomores to lead the team,” she said. “I know they’ll be more successful this year.”
Three players were named to the NJCAA winter All-Star team: Kara Ihlenfeldt, of Caldwell, Caitlyn Gunn, of Seabrook and Jessica Bronstad, of Alvin.
The softball team will start their season on January 31 in the Galveston College Tournament.
With seven returning starters, the Dolphins baseball team plans to go a little further in the post season in 2014. The Dolphins were one game away from the NJCAA World Series last season, losing to Navarro College in the Division 14 tournament Championship game. The Dolphins had a strong season finishing with a 38-22 record. Coach Bryan Alexander also collected his 500th win as head of the ACC baseball program.
The team did a lot of things right during the 2013 campaign and had a well balanced attack, Alexander said. “We were able to pitch and we also had a good hitting team,” he said. “We were also pretty consistent defensively too.”
While the team’s pitching had a good season last year, they will be even better in 2014 with five pitchers returning.”Having an older team is helpful,” Alexander said. “They have a good idea of what to expect.” Getting close the World Series definitely made the team hungrier for success this year. “That makes you want to work harder,” he said.
The Dolphins open their season against Vernon College on January 13 at Phillips Field.
For more information about the teams and game schedules visit www.alvincollege.edu/athletics.