Socorro catcher Tristen Garcia moves to put the tag at home on a sliding Ruidoso player.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

It’s going to be a season filled with learning for the Socorro Lady Warriors softball team as a very young team takes the diamond in 2023.

“We have one senior, one junior, the rest are sophomores, freshmen, eighth grade, and I think they’re growing,” head coach Tracy Romero said. “It takes time. It takes hard work and practice, and they’re doing that. So you know, from the first game to this game, there have been so many improvements, and I can’t be happier. As long as the improvements keep going, I couldn’t be happier.”

Abrianna Romero fires a pitch across the plate.

This is Romero’s first year at the helm, and she will rely heavily on the natural leadership abilities of that lone senior, Felicity Otero.

Otero is a three-position (actually four) player and is listed at second base, third base, and center field while also starting at shortstop against Ruidoso. After eight attempts, the Lady Warriors have yet to break into the win column, but winning and losing isn’t Otero’s focus as she hopes for a spot (Highlands) on a college softball team.

“Most of the girls are up-and-comers, so they are new, and I’m here to help them with their fundamentals,” Otero said. “I’m a senior this year. I’m the only senior, and I’m expected to be a leader out there.”

“I have a good group of girls,” Romero said. “I love them. I can’t ask anymore. They got good personalities. They do work hard. They must learn they can make a mistake and don’t need to get down on themselves about it.”

Socorro’s biggest woe is a lack of pitching, with Romero’s daughter, Abrianna, listed as the lone varsity pitcher. The sophomore is battling bravely from the circle. Socorro’s opponents’ run totals have been a team-defensive effort where muscle memory and repetition are still developing the Lady Warriors’ timing.

Senior Felicity Otero tries to escape a rundown.

“She’s our only varsity pitcher. We’re so young learning, we have two more pitchers working,” Romero said.

The best news for Romero is her younger players are quickly grasping the concepts of the game, and positioning on defense and relays is showing constant improvement.

“Now we’re going to go into these next two tournaments, and they’re just going to work hard on developing our team chemistry,” Romero said. They’re building it from the start of the season to now, and they’re getting comfortable.”

The 2023 Lady Warriors softball team includes Lisa Fernandez, Thalia Acosta, Mikell Naranjo, Abrianna Romero, Tatjana Castillo, Morgan Perkins, Jazmine Alvarado, Felicity Otero, Lilliana Maldonado, Tristan Garcia, Jisela Estrada, Jadah Paz and Shiloh Rosas.