Jaguars prepare for season opener
By BY MARCUS GUTIERREZ AND REY CASTILLO - MGUTIERREZ@VICAD.COM RCASTILLO@VICAD.COM
Feb. 8, 2018 at 10:21 p.m.
Gabby Davila noticed the UHV softball team has developed during the past two seasons.
The junior shortstop can tell this year's team has a chance to be special.
"This year is a lot different because we have a lot of talent," Davila said. "We're a lot stronger, and our chemistry is good. My expectations for this year are really high. Last year we went far, but this year, I expect much more, and I think we're going to crush it."
The Jaguars open the season at the NAIA Cowtown Classic Tournament in Fort Worth at the Gateway Park on Friday and Saturday.
UHV head softball coach Lindsey Ortiz is looking for the Jaguars to get off to a fast start in the tournament.
"I want to see strong communication during the tournament," Ortiz said. "It's something that we really have worked on in practice. We just have to make plays and get those timely hits."
Last season, the Jaguars finished with a 33-19 record and have looked promising in the preseason.
"We have been fighting the weather for a while, but we have been getting our work in," said Ortiz, who is entering her eighth season with the Jaguars. "We have been working on a lot of the little things in practice and scrimmages, and I can see improvement. We just need to continue to get better to prepare for our conference games."
Michelle Revels, Kelsey Tidrick and Torey Dumont return to the circle for the Jaguars.
Revels went 10-10 last season with 55 strikeouts and a 2.41 ERA in 113 1/3 innings.
"We're looking forward to the season," Revels said. "We're all improving every day. Last year, we had a good season, but this year we're looking forward to a better one."
Ortiz admires Revels' work ethic at practice with her teammates.
"I expect great things from Michelle," Ortiz said. "She comes in and does her work and shows the underclassmen how to go about their business."
Two new pitchers, Cheyenne Galindo from Ganado and Jackie Longoria from Edinburg, are also expected to see some time in the circle.
"We want to win conference, improve our record and hopefully win the national tournament," Revels said. "I think the pitching rotation has been developing, and we have a rotation that we haven't had in years past. We plan to use every one of them to the fullest, and I think they can all do a great job."
Davila had a .345 batting average with 58 hits and 48 runs scored for the Jaguars as a sophomore.
Davila is looking to help her younger teammates this year.
"I think the past three years that I've been here has helped with gaining knowledge of how the program works," Davila said. "I think I can bring a lot of advice for the younger girls and push them."
The Jaguars were voted to win the Red River Athletic Conference in the 2018 RRAC Softball Preseason Poll.
"It's a compliment for sure to be voted to win the conference," Ortiz said. "Our players take it as a compliment too, but it's a preseason poll. You don't win anything in the preseason.
"We just have to go out there and play our game. It all starts this weekend with the tournament we have coming up."