Softball Coach of the Year: Younger players rise as Holtville competes in 4APublished 9:00am Sunday, June 16, 2013
With new faces and a tougher schedule, Robert Rollan and the Holtville Lady Bulldogs returned to the South Central Region tournament for the second year and posted a 28-17 mark. For that, and for the second year, Rollan has been named The Wetumpka Herald’s Softball Coach of the Year.
“The standard has been set by the girls that have been with us and then graduated,” said Rollan. “I think the young girls coming up know they are stepping into big shoes.”
This season the Lady Bulldogs took on 19 6A schools.
“We didn’t even come close to that last year,” said Rollan. “There were six games that if we’d have scored one or two more runs or committed one or two less errors, we’d have won.”
Coming into the season Rollan had to fill four starting slots after graduating a quartet of college-softball-bound seniors.
“You had five girls returning, and we pretty much had to fill those holes with new girls,” he said. “So that meant building new chemistry. A lot of the seniors had played their entire career with the four girls that graduated. For them to play with new girls this year, was a first. ”
The project worked as Holtville strung together win after win.
“I thought the girls really competed and played as hard as they possibly could play,” said Rollan. “We had a few injury issues and some sickness and were trying to find our way as a team early on. But they never quit and they never gave up. The seniors led, and the underclassmen picked up the slack.”
But the number of girls from that original group will again be depleted. He has to replace seven starters from the 2013 team.
“We run a program and I’ve been planning for this and have girls ready to step in,” said Rollan. “I’ve got girls that are going to have to prove themselves and they are going to have to show me they can compete and play at this level.”