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New Era Begins with Some Growing Pains

Cougars softball drops new coach John Wissmath's debut.

Posted: January 31, 2008 5:51 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2008 2:02 a.m.

College of the Canyons pitcher Sara Campos, right, delivers a pitch to catcher Whitney Stanley, center, in the Cougars' 8-0 loss to Long Beach City College Wednesday at home.

 
Though College of the Canyons softball was mercy-ruled at Whitten Field 8-0 Wednesday in its season opener against Long Beach City College, the game was marked by a couple of other notes.

Firsts, in fact.
It was the first time in 21 seasons that the Cougars had a new head coach as John Wissmath penciled in the lineup instead of Ray Whitten, who is currently serving as the team's first base coach after retiring after the 2007 season.
For one player, though, it was a different kind of first.
Valencia graduate Lauren Rose asserted herself on the softball field for the first time since she can remember.
Lost in the shuffle of stars at Valencia last season during its CIF-Southern Section Division II championship run, Rose saw her role on the team diminish as the year wore on.
Though she made 35 plate appearances, even belting a home run, she wasn't one of the main cogs in the Vikings machine.
She showed Wednesday that she may be the main cog for the Cougars (0-1).
Early to dub her that or not, the Cougars managed just five base runners in Wednesday's game against, ironically, the Vikings (1-0) and two were Rose.
They were both singles off 2006 All-State pitcher Sadie Barton.
"Oh my God, I love it," said Rose of the opportunity to play.
Rose singled in the second inning, then again in the fourth, but was stranded both times as Barton lassoed the Cougars.
The sophomore struck out 12 .
"We have a very new team - a lot of freshmen," said Rose, herself one of eight freshmen. "We're all trying to mesh. It's going to take some time."
But Wissmath saw many positives.
Especially in the circle.
Sara Campos, a freshman from Hoover High, went the distance for the Cougars.
Ordinarily, she'd be the starting catcher, but a lack of inexperience thrust her into a role she's not been in before.
Through four innings, she allowed two runs, both unearned.
Things unraveled, though, in a five-run fifth inning.
It started after a Cougar error to lead off the inning. The big blow came on a base-clearing three-run triple by Long Beach's Jessica Amador, who was the ninth batter of the frame.
Barton struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth.
Wissmath said only four girls on his squad of 13 have quality softball playing experience.
One of the biggest areas of concern is in the circle.
"We're still looking for a pitcher," Wissmath said. "If there's a kid out there, help us out. You could make life easier for a lot of people."


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