Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Scrap Yard Dawgs: Three Reasons To Raise “The Cup” In 2017

By Lou Roesch
Special Correspondent for TexSport Publications

CONROE, TEXAS (August 16, 2017) Last season, the Scrap Yard Dawgs surprised the National Pro FastPitch world by making it to the championship tournament along with perennial powers USSSA Pride and the Chicago Bnadits. The Dawgs pushed the Bandits to the limit before bowing out one game short of the tile series. This season there are no surprises as the Scrap Yard Dawgs begin their championship playoff run on Thursday night against a familiar foe, the Akron Racers.

In their inaugural season (2016), the Dawgs had an outstanding season by any measure but in the end, they did not hoist the Cowles Cup. For Dawgs owner/general manager Connie May, it’s all about winning the title so like any great organization, the Dawgs went out and added pieces to make this year, THE YEAR. One might even go so far as to say they rebuilt the team after one season. Now with the Dawgs just four games from wresting the Cup from the defending champion Bandits, here are three reasons that that should be a reality in 2017.
1) Last season, the Dawgs couldn’t hit worth a lick especially when it came to consistent, timely hitting. As a team in 2016, the SYD hit a paltry .254. After the conclusion of the season general manager Connie May set out to fix that problem. Fast forward to now and you have a club that was more than respectable during the regular season. It’s now a lineup filled with dangerous bats up and down the order and on the bench that that raised the average up nearly 30 points (.283). Those bats produced 113 more at bats resulting in 70 more hits and 34 more runs. It’s production like that that wins ballgames at the most opportune times.
2) Monica Abbott is the franchise and for two seasons she has put the team on her shoulders figuring in 39 of the team’s 60 wins over the last two years. Along the way, the million dollar southpaw has been worth every penny racking up 380 strikeouts in 240.2 innings of work with an earned run average below one. This season the coaching staff has worked hard to ensure that Abbott is fresh and ready for this playoff run.
3) No team wins without a championship mentality and the Srap Yard Dawgs have it. In the offseason, May made the most critical move necessary to create a culture that was focused on winning titles and winning as a team. She hired Texas A&M assistant coach Gerry Glasco. Softball fans will remember that Glasco was the head coach of the USSSA Pride that won the 2014 NPF regular season and championship title. His team Southern Force Gold won the 2008 18U National Championship. One need to look no further than his time with the Aggies to understand the impact he has on a club. In 2014, his first season in College Station, the team powered 67 home runs and 287 RBI in 60 games. Just a season ago, the Aggies rewrote their offensive record books breaking five single season records and seven school records in SEC play. Add two assistant coaches Jimmy Kolaitis and Joe Guthrie with resumes as prolific as Glasco’s and the foundation for a championship has been set.
May didn’t stop there. She hired Mike Steuerwald as the assistant general manager. All the Los Angeles, California native has to his resume are back-to-back Cowles Cup championships as head coach of the Bandits and another as an assistant.
Then came the players by trade, by draft and by and by free agency. Brittany Cervantes, Hannah Flippen, Anisa Urtez, Morgan Zerkle, Ali Aguilar, Katiyana Mauga, Allexis Bennett, Amanda Kamekona, Kasey Cooper and maybe the most biggest one of all left-hander Cheridan Hawkins.
Yes, the Pride, the Bandits and Racers are all legitimate contenders for hoisting the Cowls Cup on Sunday August 20, 2017 but if the Dawgs are the ones sipping champagne the season will be incomplete.

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