Girls’ Queen Creek softball team looking forward into 2015-16 season

With a new head coach and no seniors, the Queen Creek softball team is looking to learn from its 2015 season to bring more depth into next year.
Head coach Stephanie Mejia is in her first year at Queen Creek after eight years in the club circuit and four years at the varsity level at Basha High School.
Mejia’s team is full of young talent, including nine underclassmen. The team doesn’t have a single senior on the roster, but does return many starters from last year’s section championship team.
“My roster is full of talent from hitting, speed, defense and pitching,” said Mejia. “However, we are a young team and still need to learn the game and how to play with each other.”
The Dogs started off the season with a bang in their first preseason tournament, returning from Tucson with a 4-1 record.
They continued their winning ways headed into section play, but lost two critical games to section-leading Arcadia and Seton Catholic early. QC is 5-3 in its last eight games and needed to win out the rest of its section games to have a chance at the postseason.
This could be the first in 10 years that the QC softball program didn’t make it into the postseason tournament.
Fortunately, the team will return all of its players to next year’s roster. They are led by a bunch of talented juniors in Ryann Holmes, Asia Weddle, Taryn Simmons, Jolynn McEntee and Mariah Gallegos. Holmes, who leads the juniors and team in batting average, is hitting a .456 clip with a team-leading 26 hits, while also excelling at defense as the starting shortstop.
Simmons is not far behind at the plate, hitting .436 with nine doubles this season.
“Ryann Holmes does a great job playing shortstop and leading the team,” said Mejia. “Mariah Gallegos will play any position I tell her to without an attitude and Asia Weddle is a player who will always cheer and when she needs to pitch will throw strikes. Jolynn McEntee is an unselfish player and is a positive kid, while Taryn Simmons is a fighter and will do anything to get to a ball or get a hit.”
The class of sophomores is equally as talented and returns many freshmen starters from last year’s roster.
“Brittaney Benavidas is our little spark plug and a silent leader,” said Mejia. “Kierstin Denning is our vocal leader and makes sure everyone does what they need to do and is always there to help the team have fun. Maci Richardson is a kid every coach should have on their team because she can play any position and can hit for power. Lastly, Bailey Khuel is an unselfish player who will do anything for the team.”
The roster is rounded out with five freshmen, including go-to pitcher Julia Heitz. Heitz has pitched 82 of the 111 innings this season.
Freshman Madison Lamb is also adding some depth to the offensive lineup, hitting .444.
“Julia Heitz is a player with no fear, brings excitement to the game of softball and is always willing to work hard,” said Mejia. “Our other freshmen are equally as talented and have a lot of potential. Lacey McQuade is a player who always cheers and when it’s her turn to step up really shines. Millie Parra will always be there to help out when needed and Madison Lamb is always clutch when she is up to bat. Sarah Rope is also a clutch hitter who is always happy and will do anything to help the team.”
“Our team goals for this year are to play every game with heart, learn from the game of softball and have fun, “ said Mejia.
The Dogs were scheduled to close out the season at home on Tuesday, April 28, against Higley.
Check the QCHS Athletics Facebook and Instagram pages for more information regarding QC softball.
Editor’s note: Jamie Morris is the staff news writer for Queen Creek High School.

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