Western Nevada College softball coach Leah Wentworth is seeing both depth and versatility in her recruiting class. Among the 11 players who have signed letters of intent, seven can play multiple positions. And for the second straight season, Wentworth will welcome seven players with ties to Nevada.
“It’s a versatile group,” Wentworth said. “Some of the girls have power, some will give us speed on the bases; others will provide contact at the plate. We’ll have some speed on the bench that can come in to pinch-run for us, and some pinch-hitting versatility.”
The newcomers include Nevadans Kaysee Archer, Churchill County High School, Fallon; Makenzie Hospodka and Meghan Hospodka, Damonte Ranch High School, Reno; Katie Kluever, Douglas High School, Minden; Alyssa Stephens, Elko High School, Elko; Shannon Chapman, Silver Stage High School, Silver Springs; and Kindra Ryals, Spanish Springs High School, Sparks.
Complementing the local talent will be transfer Katelyn Bomar, a center fielder from Central Arizona College; pitcher Katilyn Covione of Concord, Calif.; pitcher/catcher Kylie Everill of Cottonwood Heights, Utah; and pitcher Rylee Coggins of Sandy, Utah.
After finishing the 2013 season with 11 healthy players, Wentworth is excited about the competition and depth the recruits will create — at least two players deep at every position.
“It’s a good problem to have,” she said.
The group joins seven returning Wildcats. Wentworth said she has five additional scholarships to consider.
Early signees include:
Archer, second baseman: Archer is from the state championship-winning program that produced current WNC shortstop Rechel and outfielder Bell. In 38 games she hit .357 with 44 runs scored and 23 RBI. Archer delivered 10 doubles, two homers and two triples.
Bomar, outfielder: She hit .343 and stole 19 bases last year. She was a member of the USA Elite Gold McFadden 18U team.
Chapman, pitcher and third baseman: Chapman earned six wins and compiled a 1.49 earned run average. She fanned 87 and allowed opponents to hit .171 in 150 2/3 innings. The three-year all-league and all-state performer originally signed a scholarship to attend Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kan., in 2011 but decided to take a break from softball. Her pitching assortment includes a fastball, knuckleball, changeup, rise, curveball, screwball and drop.
Coggins, pitcher: She is resuming her softball career after a year away from the game.
Katilyn Covione, utility: She helped the Clayton Valley Eagles to a 22-4 record and the North Coast Section finals. As a senior, she hit .327, slugging four doubles, a homer and triple. She had a .403 on-base average and knocked in 13 runs. In her six appearances in the circle, Covione had a 1-1 record and 0.76 ERA. She is a San Jose USA Elite Gold McFadden 18U team member.
Everill, pitcher, catcher, first baseman: The southpaw had a 7-10 record and 3.50 earned run average in 24 appearances. She struck out 210 batters and walked 48 in 122 innings. Everill recorded a .452 batting average with six doubles, three homers and a triple.
Makenzie Hospodka, third baseman and outfielder: A power hitter who can play multiple positions, she provides flexibility in the lineup. Makenzie knocked in 11 runs and scored 16 times last season.
Meghan Hospodka, second baseman and shortstop: The other half of the twin duo brings athleticism and the ability to play both middle infield positions. In 28 games for Damonte Ranch during her senior season, Meghan hit .284 with an on-base average of .356. She hit four doubles and a triple, and scoring 24 runs.
Kluever, second baseman and shortstop: The Division I Sierra League first-team infielder helped guide Douglas to a 23-12 record this past season. Kluever hit .385 and struck out only eight times in 104 at-bats.
Ryals, pitcher, outfielder and first baseman: A former summer ball pitcher who didn’t play in high school. Ryals has increased the velocity of her pitches, according to Wentworth, and is a quick base runner.
Stevens, first base: With last year’s first baseman Nielsen unavailable in 2014, the Wildcats will have an opening at the corner infield spot that they hope Stevens can fill. As a senior, Stevens batted .324 with five doubles, 14 RBI and 15 runs scored.
Returning much of her 2013 team, when the Wildcats posted their first regional tournament victory, and with an infusion of new talent, Wentworth believes there are many reasons for optimism.
“The light bulb came on for this club at the regional tournament (this spring). They learned that they can compete and beat any of these teams if they play hard,” Wentworth said. “They are going to be a force to be reckoned with, and I really believe my team believes it.”