Comets pitching a new season

Palomar’s head softball coach Lacy Craft gives her team some words of wisdom before their game against Saddleback College on Jan. 29 at Palomar’s softball field. The Comets beat the Gauchos 7-5 in their season opening game thanks to some clutch pitching from Carli Daniel, two shutout innings, and hitting from right fielder Kristina Carbajal, who went 3-3 with 3 RBI’s and a home run.  Scott Colson/The Telescope

Palomar’s head softball coach Lacy Craft gives her team some words of wisdom before their game against Saddleback College on Jan. 29 at Palomar’s softball field. The Comets beat the Gauchos 7-5 in their season opening game thanks to some clutch pitching from Carli Daniel, two shutout innings, and hitting from right fielder Kristina Carbajal, who went 3-3 with 3 RBI’s and a home run. Scott Colson/The Telescope

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.

 Kristin George, who led the team in games played and at bats last season, dives for the ball during a fielding drill during one of Palomar softball’s practices on Jan 15. The Comets kick off their 2014 season at home on January 29 against Saddleback College. Scott Colson/The Telescope

Kristin George, who led the team in games played and at bats last season, dives for the ball during a fielding drill during one of Palomar softball’s practices on Jan 15. The Comets kick off their 2014 season at home on January 29 against Saddleback College. Scott Colson/The Telescope

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.

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Pitcher and designated Hitter Carli Daniel (#18) blasts a pitch over the wall for a 2-run home run in the first inning against Saddleback College on Jan. 29 at Palomar’s softball field. Daniel reached base 3 times and pitched 2 shutout innings in the Comets’ season opening 7-5 win over the Gauchos. Scott Colson/The Telescope

“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.

Author: Lloyd Bravo

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