After suffering from a severe case of lack of confidence, brought on by years of losing, the Los Lunas High School softball team may be starting to believe in themselves under first-year head coach Glenn Trujillo.
The Tigers opened the season with a 5-1 win Thursday over Belen — a team they haven’t beaten in years.
“They are believers,” Trujillo said of his team. “And I think this win (over the Eagles) is going to show them the reward of working hard and give them a little confidence. It could have a snowball effect and give us a little momentum.”
But Trujillo, who coached the junior varsity team last year and led Enchantment Little League All-Star teams to state titles the last two years, is downplaying expectations.
“We’re not setting a number as a goal for wins,” he said. “We just want to play hard, work hard, be competitive, try to stay in every game and let it go from there.
“It’s going to be a marathon, it’s not going to be a sprint, but I’m optimistic. Eventually good things are going to happen.”
Trujillo said this season is all about the six seniors on the roster — Chacara Fleming, Alicia Garcia, Bradi Giron, Kasey Herrin, Crystal Jiron, Stephanie McIntosh and Andrea Tenorio.
“The seniors in this program, they’ve had a pretty difficult softball career here at the high school,” the coach said. “First of all, they had never beaten Belen, and they’ve won three games the last two years. So we’re kind of dedicating the season to the seniors — asking our younger players to play for the seniors — and try to send them off on a good note.”
Fleming returns as the starting catcher. Herrin and McIntosh are starting outfielders. Giron returns as the team’s third baseman after taking a year off.
Also back is shortstop Michelle Romero, a slick-fielding shortstop who is the Tigers’ best hitter.
The Lady Tigers’ best pitcher is Ashley Herrera, who got the win in allowing just one against Belen.
Trujillo said the girls have responded well to him — their third head coach in three years. “The attitude has been tremendous since last October when I was hired,” Trujillo said. “We had a very strong turnout for the pre-season. And once the first day of (spring) practice started, the girls have been out here every day, going hard for two-and-a-half hours every day.”
Still, Trujillo knows there are going to be some bumps in the road. Wins don’t come easy, especially when the District 3-5A season rolls around. But the new coach likes what he has to work with, and the girls appear to like him.
“It’s going to be a challenging year, but the girls are working extremely hard in practice, Trujillo said. “They have a really good work ethic, and they are really buying into the philosophy of giving it 100 percent — going out and having fun but working hard.”
The Lady Tigers are scheduled to play a home doubleheader against Gallup beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.