My'Kaele Hoofkin/ Contributed

Kristen Borton coaches the Lady Raiders during a preseason scrimmage

Q/A with head softball coach Kristen Borton

February 13, 2023

The Lady Raiders begin the 2023 softball season stronger and faster than before. Last year’s assistant coach Kristen Borton is now the head coach and has shaped this year’s team. After practicing and scrimmaging throughout the semester, the team begins their season on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The Rider Chronicle talked to Borton about the upcoming season as they prepare for the game against Henrietta.

Q. As a first-year head softball coach, what have you done differently compared to past coaches?

A: I think we’re a lot more different with certain drills. We might hit twice a week, throw twice a week, and do some different team drills in there. We’re just a lot more consistent so the girls are used to the same drills and fall into a habit of just going through the motions.

Q: What are your goals for this year’s season?

A. My goal is to win more games in district than we had. We’ve bought up more girls this year, and have a lot of returning varsity players and are building up the JV group.

Q: What is the team’s biggest strength?

A: Our biggest strength is we have eight seniors, so we have a lot of varsity players. Seeing the varsity game tempo and knowing what to expect from them. Going into district, we have two brand new teams in our district: Saginaw and Northwest. They’re newbies that we kind of have to adjust to that. But a lot of our varsity isn’t new. We have a pretty strong and good group.

Q: What are the weaknesses?

A. We will be losing eight of our seniors, so that’s a big group. Which is also a strength. We have a good JV group that will be moving up. They’ve stayed together last year and this year so we have more of a returning team. They’ll just be playing at more of a varsity level.

Q: How have you prepared?

A: We’ve been going to the field two or three times a week. It was a little bit of a struggle going to the field during the week because I was with volleyball. We’ve been doing a lot of team (activities). Lot’s of weight lifting, so getting stronger and faster. We’ve done a lot of infield and outfield hitting stations. I’m a really big advocate for talking through things. So if there’s something we’re not understanding, we stop the drill and stop what we’re doing. That way we can talk through it. I know these girls are visual players, so we really work things out. We show videos if we have to so they can see what it’s supposed to look like. It seems to work a lot.

Q: Do you feel as if the team is ready for this year’s season?

A: I think we’re ready. We still have a couple preseason games. Friday’s our last scrimmage. Varsity has a big preseason tournament coming up this weekend. We still have a lot of things to fix and get prepared for. I think our district is a little tougher with some games.

Q: Who is the toughest opponent?

A: I would say Aledo every year is decent. Azle is pretty good. I think out of those two, things will be pretty competitive. 

Q: Who are the key players this year?

A: We have Piper Chandler pitching for us. Having eight seniors, every single one of them. Alivia Wahl, Faith Worley, Reed and Mika Rayna, Kaci Brewster, Adriana Rojo and Gracie Porter. They’re all returning varsity players, I think that’s going to be a big key component. We have Avienda Garza out in center field, and she’s going to catch some too. It’s going to be great having those utility players. We have a freshman pitcher, Leah Sanchez. She’s been working hard and is a good asset. They have completely different pitches, and I think it’ll be good.

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Photo of Kylie Davenport
Kylie Davenport, Editor in Chief

Kylie Davenport is a senior at Rider High School and is the Chronicle's editor-in-chief. Going into her second year on staff, she is nervous but excited...

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