Hill College softball begins 2021 spring season

  Jessyca Brown
  Monday, February 8, 2021 8:06 AM

Hillsboro, TX

The Hill College Lady Rebels softball team kicked off its spring 2021 season last week. The team played 22 pre-season games over seven dates in the fall, finishing with an overall record of 7-15.


“We had a ton of growth in our knowledge and skill,” said head coach Allora Miller. “We faced teams that were much better than us, and it challenged our ability to handle adversity and not let the title of a four-year intimidate us. The local select teams we played were extremely talented, which tested our ability to never underestimate our opponent.”


Amid addressing in-season and off-season setbacks due to COVID-19, the Lady Rebels also had a coaching change. Miller was hired in August 2020 after former coach Leigh Ebner retired from coaching and took on another role at the college. Miller said the fall gave the team the time it needed to gel under a new leadership style.


“Being recruited under one coach and then getting a new one at the start of a season is no easy event, but they welcomed me with open arms,” said Miller. “They have been persistent and have taken on every challenge I have thrown at them.”


With seven returning players and 11 new freshmen on this year’s team, Miller said fans can expect an exciting season.

“We are so excited and grateful for the opportunity to get to have our season, and each game you will see that gratitude by what we do on the field,” she said. “We have a ton of youth on our team this year, and I think we have found a great way to use that youthfulness in our energy and excitement for being on the field.”


Players new to this year’s team include infielders Kenedee Yrlas, Shelby Nelson, Jazzmyn Rodriguez, Allie Wheeler, Bridgette Montes, and Madison Gerik; outfielders Ellena Munoz, Lindsey Ratcliffe and Lexi Wheeler; pitcher Autumn Minyard; and catcher Katie Henson.


“I think the biggest surprise this season will be this freshman class,” said Miller. “Each newcomer has a different experience and is at a different place in their growth from this fall. It will be exciting to see how they will handle the challenges this season and how they will rise to the occasion.”


Returning sophomores include shortstop Shelby Pelton, outfielder Kristin Gutierrez, pitcher Amanda Little, catcher Kaylie Burdine, pitcher and third base Yasmine Rivera, pitcher Hannah Spring, and outfielder Madison Forrester. Miller said each are coming off a strong freshman season and looked good in the fall. She said their leadership and enthusiasm also proved to be significant in the growth and preparedness of the freshman group.


“The sophomores have definitely done a great job helping the freshmen transition into the life of a student-athlete at the junior college level,” Miller said. “Overall, they can relate to and lean on each other. In our moments of frustration from this pandemic, they use each other to bounce back and build each other up.”


Despite the challenges, Miller said she is proud of the patience and perseverance her team has shown.


“Their willingness to keep going, execute, rise, never give up and enjoy the process along the way is something I will always admire of this group,” said Miller. “They really bought in and together have been able to take everything in stride and come out better for it. I am so excited to get out there with this special group of young women, and I can’t wait to see what this season holds.”


The college and team are prepared for schedule changes and modifications given the current environment. Fans are encouraged to check the college athletics Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HillCollegeAthletics and the athletics website at https://www.hillcollege.edu/Athletics/ for updates.


2021 Softball Roster

  1. NAME                                 POSITION            YEAR

1              Shelby Pelton                    SS                           FR*

2              Hannah Spring                   P                             FR*

3              Kristin Gutierrez               OF/UT                   FR*

4              Kenedee Yrlas                   SS/3B                    FR

6              Madison Forrester           OF                          SO*

7              Shelby Nelson                   C                             FR

8              Ellena Munoz                     OF                          FR

9              Jazzmyn Rodriguez          SS                           FR

10           Katie      Henson                C                             FR

12           Lindsey Ratcliffe               OF                          FR

13           Lexi Wheeler                     OF                          FR

14           Allie Wheeler                     2B                           FR

15           Bridgette Montes            C/2B                      FR

16           Kaylie Burdine                   C                             FR*

17           Amanda Little                    P/1B                      FR*

18           Yasmine Rivera                  P/UT                      FR*

19           Madison Gerik                   1B/C                      FR

20           Autumn Minyard              P/3B                      FR