Yavapai softball bringing in lots of familiar faces

Yavapai College is planning to get back to the softball World Series and is apparently looking to lots of local talent to get there.

The Prescott community college announced its 2011 softball recruiting class and it’s loaded with players from high schools scattered throughout the state.  Ten of the 11 recruits are local.

The Roughriders won the first NJCAA Softball National Championship in the history of the 51-year-old school last year as it ran up an impressive 60-8 record.  They enter the 2010 season as the No. ranked JUCO team in the nation.

Yavapai is off to a 7-5 start on the new season and open their conference play today against Paradise Valley Community College.

The local players included in the 2011 recruiting class just announced by head coach Stacy Iveson include the following pitchers and catchers: Mel Willadsen, a right-handed pitcher from Red Mountain HS (Mesa); Stella Pinon, another righty, from Sunnyside HS (Tucson); Tessa Fanning, a catcher from Mingus Union HS (Cottonwood); Ashleigh Seipl, a catcher from Highland HS (Gilbert).

Also on the list: Sierra Rodriguez, a utility infielder from Basha HS (Chandler): Alexis Lawton, a utility outfielder from Mesquite HS (Gilbert); Brittney Gant, an infielder from Casa Grande HS; and Nicole Rascon and Miraya Montiel from Salpointe Catholic HS (Tucson).  Ranscon is an outfielder and Montiel an infielder.

The help on the mound should be significant with this group.  Willadsen led her high school team to the state championship game as a junior and pitched her ASA team to the 16U National Championship game over the summer.  Pinon also helped her high school team  to a state championship in 2007.  They will be joined by a recruit from Denver, Colo., Alyse Harris, who threw a no-hitter in the quarterfinal game in the Colorado State championships.

Yavapai’s  rise on the softball scene has been meteoric.  In the program’s first year, in 2008, the Roughriders won the regular-season division I conference title and the Region I championship, earning a trip to the World Series.  Last year it was the national championship.

It will be interesting to see where they end up in 2010 – and then have to wait to see what surprises await from the 2011 recruiting class.