The Lady Tiger All-State lineage flows evenly from Kassie Roddam to Kaitlyn Schnerr to Toni Ellis to Rainey Eanes.
With the graduation of Roddam last year, Rockdale finds itself rudderless and with a new coach at the helm.
Amanda Keen shifts over from Troy and becomes the fourth Rockdale softball coach in the past five years, replacing Kristen Gunter who was here two years and posted a 29-27 mark and two playoff appearances.
“Yes this year is going to have to be a team effort for us to be successful,” Keen said. “We have some really talented young ladies that are coming together even though it may now be a position that they are not used to, they are going there for the team.”
The Lady Tigers lost just two players to graduation, albeit two important cogs in four-year starters Roddam and steady performer Kelsey Fischer.
Rockdale has seven starters coming back, none more important than sophomore pitcher Kayleigh Montelongo who missed most of last season after injuring her knee in basketball.
When the fire-balling right hander did make her debut, it revved up the Lady Tigers who won five straight to end the regular season and make yet another playoff appearance.
“Kayleigh Montelongo is back on the mound and looking great with Mackenzie Tater working hard as well for us in the circle,” Keen says.
Senior third baseman Megan Hearn came out of nowhere last season to lead Rockdale in hitting with an impressive .542 average, one of the best marks in the 17- year history of the program.
Hearn also led the team in runs batted in with 21 and also swiped 21 bases without being caught.
Hearn, who has signed up to play at Marion Military Institute next season, will slide over into the shortstop slot that has been held down by four All-State players in the past.
Junior Briana Mireles was also a surprise contributior, providing the Lady Tigers with some firepower with her .429 average
Four experienced seniors return with four-year starter Haily Offield (.325), Mac Tater (.351), Britta Byrd (. 275) and Krista Phillips (.200).
Keen can also draw from a group of talented newcomers including Maci Wages, Morgan Fischer, Lisa Vest and Makalya Wardlaw.
“So far, I would have to say the players that are standing out offensively are Maci Wages, Hailey Offield and Krista Phillips,” Keen said.
The Lady Tigers took on Weimar on the road Tuesday night, coming home with a 14-2 win.
TIGER TR ACKS—Former Rockdale coach Jessica Poole is now at Cedar Ridge to start the first-year school’s softball program after three years at Hutto... Rockdale’s first softball coach, Jamie Boswell, has moved over to San Angelo where he is the head basketball coach... The Lady Tigers are 44-12 (79 percent) at the Softball Complex all-time. They were 8-5 in 2010... Giddings is ranked No. 10 in pre-season rankings and are the obvious District 23-3A favorite.
LADY TIGER FILE
Coach—Amanda Keen (1st year)
2010 district—7-5, 3rd
Playoffs—Lost to Huffman-Hargrave in area round.
Key losses—SS Kassie Roddam
(1st team all-state), OF Kelsey
Key returnees—Sr. 3B Megan
Hearn (.542 1st team all-district); So. P Kayleigh Montelongo (4-3, 4.05), Jr. 2B Briana
Mireles (.429); Jr. OF Jill Young
(.387); Sr. P-1B Mac Tater (10-
9, .351 4HR); Sr. OF Hailey
Offield (.325); So. 3B Marissa
Mireles (.289); Jr. C Britney
Newlin (.282); Sr. 1B Britta Byrd
(.275); Sr., OF Krista Phillips
Key newcomers—So. Morgan
Fischer; So. Lisa Vest; So. Maci
Wages; So. Makayla Wardlow.
District opener—March 18 vs.
Navasota at RHS Softball Complex.