2012 - Coaches Review
Before everyone moves on to their next step in life, let's take a few moments to look back on the 2012 BMCC softball season, a season filled with ups and downs.
"On the one hand, we reached our goal of being much more competitive than the 2011 team," said coach Tom Mauldin, who concluded his first year as head coach with a 13-25 won-loss record. "That said, we probably let a half-dozen games get away from us. So, while you look at a 10-game improvement over 2011, it looks pretty good. But a play here and a play there and well, oh well."
There were some big wins, one-run victories over two of the NWAACC's top teams (Treasure Valley and Spokane) and some error-ending losses to Eastern Oregon and Big Bend. The T-Wolves were on both sides of blowouts (17-0 and 16-0 over Walla Walla U) and similar results, but on the losing end, to East Region champion Wenatchee.
While the 2012 wins were 13 as compared to 4 and losses 25 as compared to 36, the 2012 edition of T-Wolves batted 100 points higher in 2012 than the prior year and the pitchers cut their earned run average in half. Defensively, errors were down by 40 percent.
"That shows a lot of hard work," said Mauldin. "he pitchers worked on learning new pitches and put in some extra time and the results showed. The hitters showed diligence with a plethora of hitting drills that some consider boring, and the fielders took more groundballs and flyballs than some ever imagine."
Topping the hitters was freshman Cheyenne Friend, who led in average (.446), homers (8), RBIS (28), as well as on base and slugging percentages.
"She started fall ball with a slight forward lean in her swing, but once she saw a 15-second video clip of how much weight she put on her front foot, she immediately began working on more balance," said Mauldin. "It certainly paid off. Her swing is real close to being fundamentally perfect. She worked hard to improve it. Credit goes to Cheyenne for working hard and consistently."
During the year, Friend was also one of numerous BMCC players to get injured. She missed 8 games and would likely have been first team all-East Region had she been 100 percent. She was the lone T-Wolf named to the NWAACC's East Region 2nd team.
Other .300-plus hitters for BMCC were Jordan Bennett, Kendal Weber, Randi Kostner, Megan McIntyre, Megan Alexander and Kerica Cusick.
The last few seasons, BMCC has been cursed by injuries and 2012 was no exception. Only two players played in each of BMCC's games. Cusick was hitting .344 and coming off four-straight hits against two of the league's top hitters when she broke her hand, putting her on the bench for 6 weeks.
"That hurt. We not only lost a good hitter, but an excellent fielder at first base," said Mauldin, who noted that Cusick did not make an error on the season.
The Timberwolves had so many injuries that they had to withdraw from the late April NWAACC crossover tournament. There were so many injuries, that the coaching staff felt playing that tournament might jeopardize the remainder of the league season (10 games).
"We just didn't feel it would be responsible to push the envelope with so many injuries," said Mauldin. "As it was, during our last two weeks, we were an injury away from not being able to finish the season. But I credit the girls for enduring and pushing through."
Mauldin noted that due to injuries and some inconsistent play, BMCC rarely had the same starting lineup from one game to the next. And practices, at times, were "pretty much just get through without additional injuries." In late April, BMCC had back-to-back practices where only six players were healthy enough to practice.
"I'm guessing, due to weather and injuries, we changed practice plans probably two-thirds of the time," said the coach.
The injury bug stayed with the T-Wolves right down to the wire. Freshman Chyenne Carter was injured during warmups prior to the season finale versus Treasure Valley. She lost a ball in the sun and ultimately ended up with a fractured cheek bone. She had surgery May 21.
"She had been working very hard on her hitting and it was noticeable," said Mauldin. "We all are wishing her a speedy recovery."
"While we had a half-dozen girls bat over .300, we also had five hit .200 or below," said the coach. "Balancing the lineup with consistent hitting will be a major goal in 2013."
That and staying healthy.