Palomar College Softball Coach Lacey Craft is getting ready for the challenges that lie ahead for another season of Comets softball.
After an emotional season last year, Craft and her talented players clawed their way back and won their fourth state championship.
Craft believes regardless of the loss of most of the players from last season, who moved on to four-year universities, the Comets will be ready once the season starts.
“Going into the season the (team) is going to be able to compete and play ball at a pretty high level and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Craft said.
There is no expectation to compete on the same level as last season, according to Craft. However, she praises her new recruits and their efforts since practicing last year.
“We are trying to win that conference championship every year… Fortunately we have talented kids that give us the opportunity to do that again this season,” Craft said.
One of the four returning players from last season is 19-year-old first baseman Paige Falconieri, a Business/Advertising major. Falconieri is ready to compete and start the season.
“I’m really excited. I feel like a have a lot of talent this year and have the potential to go really far with this team,” Falconieri said.
Falconieri’s experience will be a welcoming addition.
“(In) the games she (played) she hit home runs and her clutch RBIs (Runs Batted In) were just that, ‘clutch.’ They won huge games for us,” Craft said.
Craft has high hopes for the returning sophomore. “I anticipate her to be more consistent (this season). She is going to be a huge hitter and defensively lead in the infield.”
Coming back from her dominant debut season, pitcher of the year Carlie Daniel is prepared for the challenges ahead. After being called a key factor in last season’s championship team by Craft, Daniel is modest about her performance.
“I mean there were others on the team that helped and I never felt that it was all about me,” Daniel said.
“I’m excited for (the season to start). We have good hitters and quite a few pitchers, and I can’t wait to see what happens,” Daniel said.
Both Daniel and Falconieri are highly competitive players and they strive to be the best.
“You always want to try to outdo the other person or keep up with them. Everyone just kind of makes each other want to be better,” Daniel said.
“We all make each other better everyday. We have so many talented people it just makes you want to work harder,” Falconieri said.
The season is just beginning and a lot of team developing still needs to be assessed, but Craft feels her to team is ready.
“We have done a lot to prepare and train and we have been able to challenge [the team] with strategy and different things we want to incorporate, including defense, into our game this year. It’s a great feeling as a coach and program to feel that we are ready to play,” Craft said.
The players are ready, but they understand the difficulties that can be presented this season from being champions.
“The coaches expect us to do our best, but in the league there is a target on our back,” Daniel said.