Owen feels at home with her team
In her third season, Burleson softball coach Summer Owen feels at home with this year’s team.
“It finally feels that these are my girls because this is my third year and they know what is expected of them,” Owen said. “This finally feels like it is my team.”
Owen has had great success in her two seasons at Burleson, leading her alma mater to a pair of regional quarterfinal appearances. The Lady Elks fell to Aledo in her first season and Centennial last season.
The Lady Elks appear to be loaded again this season with starters or players who saw a lot of playing time last season back in all but two positions.
“We only lost two players from last year but the whole atmosphere of the team changed for the better.” Owen said. “They are very much a family and it’s a very cool experience.”
Taking over the pitching duties will be Kyleigh Rich, who pitched some last season. Zoe Miranda will back up Rich. Lauren Isbell returns behind the plate to handle this pitching staff.
Graduation left holes at first and second base where Julie Farley will play first base and Taylor Sutton takes over at second base.
The remainder of the field players are back for the Lady Elks with Natali Wheeler at shortstop, Miranda playing third base, Mattie McGovern in left field, Saeya Esparza in center field and Sarah Alexander in right field.
Owen is leaning toward Lauren Minor at designated hitter. She will also have Haley Vasquez, Kailynn Zeiner and Shania Santillan as reserves.
“I’m excited this is the biggest bench that I’ve ever had to work with,” Owen said.
Owen is excited about her squad’s offense and also their defense.
“They work hard and I’ve seen good things coming off the bat,” Owen said. “These girls have a never say die attitude. We fell behind (Mansfield) Summit, 6-0, (in a scrimmage) and fought back with 15 runs to win. That’s the kind of team this is, they don’t care if they are down, they don’t quit. They are a comeback team, I wouldn’t sleep on them.”
The Lady Elks open play today at the Mansfield ISD Tournament. Burleson starts District 9-5A play Feb. 28 at Granbury.