First-year coach Richard Gonzales has a lot of local coaching experience, and said that his Jordan Panthers have the ability to improve substantially this season. With only four seniors on the roster, there will be plenty of opportunities for the young Panthers to cut their teeth.
“It’s all about confidence and believing in themselves,” Gonzales said. “They’ve been satisfied with being average. i want them to realize what I see in them.”
Senior captains Emely Aguilar and Gabriela Martin will be the team leaders with the most experience. Aguilar will play center field and shortstop, and Martin will pay shortstop and third base. Junior left fielder Esmeralda Hernandez is the other captain.
Sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Felix and freshmen Julissa Castro and Jasmine Morales lead the talented group of underclassman.
“I think they can go .500 in league,’ Gonzales said. “We know that means we have to beat teams like Long Beach Poly, and I think that’s a challenge my girls are capable of achieving.”
Gonzales has been coaching football and softball at Long Beach Poly, Long Beach City College and Colin Powell Academy for the last 25 years. He said he wanted to come to Jordan and help the talented athletes he sees at Colin Powell.
“I want to build a foundation,” he said. “Things are starting to change at Jordan with football, soccer and track. I want softball to be a part of that.”
Jordan will rely on a small-ball offensive approach, and Gonzales said his team gained a lot of confidence while taking second place at a tournament in December. The Panthers will also avoid on-campus construction by practicing and playing at the J-Plus campus.