Improved Cougars place two on SCL All-League team

Dave Sjostedt
Jodie Turner

An improved Weed softball team placed two girls on the Shasta Cascade All League team. After winning only five games in the last three years, the Cougars equaled that win total and went 4-4 at home this year.

Instrumental in that improvement was senior Julie Gonzales. As at most small schools, Cougar athletes need to play multiple positions. Julie’s natural positions were first and second base, but she agreed to learn to catch this year to help the team.

The daughter of coach Glenn Gonzales, who passed down all-league selection duties to assistant coach Lars Vandt to avoid a conflict of interest, Julie showed her toughness when she continued to play in a tournament in Anderson last year after breaking her nose, and who played through a broken finger this year.

Julie has big dreams. She’ll attend College of the Siskiyous next year to begin working toward her goal of becoming a surgeon. She is uncertain if she’ll continue playing softball.

Receiving all league honorable mention was sophomore Jodie Turner. “A good baserunner and fielder,” said Gonzales of Turner. She played third base and the outfield, but also learned a new position, taking on pitching duties mid-season.

She’ll be a big part of next year’s team that loses only Julie Gonzales to graduation. Coach Gonzales found 12 players this year, “our biggest team in years. They fought all season long.”

Gonzales pointed to his invaluable assistant coach Lars Vandt as a major reason for the team’s improvement, and spoke with pride of the Cougar’s 14-11 win over Mount Shasta during which they overcame a 10-1 deficit.

And although he credits everyone but himself for the program’s improvement, in his three years as coach Gonzales has put together a team “that never quits” and shows great promise for seasons to come.