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Hardy takes the helm of Thunder softball

Forget 2011; think playoffs
By: Andrew Hazard Placer Herald Correspondent
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The Rocklin High School varsity softball team might be coming off of a 3-19 (2-8 Sierra Foothill League) season, and breaking in a new coach, but do not tell anyone on the Thunder’s squad that the 2012 season is going to be a rebuilding year. “We actually got together with the varsity girls and discussed their goals. Their goals for this season is to win league and make it to playoffs,” said first year varsity head coach Marissa Hardy. “We’ve got goals set for practices, we’ve got goals set for games and we’ve got goals set for the end of the season. We’re really excited and they’ve really been putting in the work to make sure it’s a season that they’re really proud of.” Hardy, who was the junior varsity coach last year, said Rocklin undoubtedly thinks it can win the SFL this season. “We feel like we’re working just as hard, if not harder, as every team in the league,” she said. “We feel that with our talent and our work ethic that we can be in the top two this year.” With a 2-0-1 record, things already seem to be turning around for the Thunder. Hardy critiqued Rocklin’s 5-5 tie with El Camino on March 2. “It was a pretty good game; we saw some things we can improve on,” she said. “With the first game of the season you’re going to find some areas of improvement, which is good for us. It was a good learning experience.” Hardy said the seniors, Erin Davis, Sierra Ueltzen, Jenn Cardoza, Melanie Petersen and Carly Perkins have set a good foundation for the rest of the program this season. She said will play a very big role. “They’ve been here for four years so they’re really looking to go out with a bang,” Hardy said. “And our hope this year is to really give back what our seniors have given to the program.” Hardy said the seniors lead by example for a group of talented girls arriving from the junior varsity team that includes sophomores Delanie Chrisman and Sam Moffat, and freshman Adrianna Havey. Rocklin also has juniors like Kendall Chambers, Jillian Lerner and Monica Martinez, who have already made contributions to the Thunder. Hardy said she feels she can put in any player at any given time and they’ll get the job done. Hardy said her time as JV coach has had a twofold advantage. She said she has a group who already understands her coaching methods and she knows many of the player’s tendencies as well. “Everyone has just kind of picked up on my coaching style and knows what is expected of them at practices and at games,” said Hardy. Hardy said it has been a smooth transition from JV to varsity because of the support she is getting. She said coaching at the varsity level has meant a lot more paperwork, responsibility and pressure but that she’s looking forward to the challenge. To make the playoffs, Rocklin is going to meet some tough competition in Del Oro, Roseville and Woodcreek. Hardy said all three of those squads bring strong teams to the table making the Thunder somewhat of an underdog. But Hardy said her players plan to take that mentality to the top. Rocklin begins SFL play at home against Del Oro on March 13. The Thunder will then travel to Roseville March 15 before hosting Woodcreek March 20. The Thunder must face all three schools again in late March and early April. “I mean, it’s not been ideal these last couple years, but they’re really determined to get the job done and to have an outstanding senior season,” Hardy said. “The rest of the girls are on board with that.” Hardy is looking forward to writing the next chapter of Rocklin softball. “It is important to express we are starting fresh this year. Parents, players, coaches,” she said. “There’s a whole new vibe this year. We’re ready to make a change, to make a dent in the SFL.”