The Natalia Lady Mustang Softball program began practice last Friday at Lady Mustang Field. For the first time since 2014-2015, the Lady Mustangs will have a new head coach as Tamara Bednorz will take over the reins.
Bednorz takes over for Travis Crowley, who led the girls in blue to the playoffs four straight seasons winning the district title three out of four seasons and collecting over 100 victories during his tenure with Natalia.
Crowley exited Natalia to join former Athletic Director Chad Graves at Palacios ISD where he is teaching and coaching football, basketball and softball.
Bednorz came to Natalia from Sinton in the middle of last season to become the Head Volleyball-Girls Athletic Coordinator before being named the Head Softball Coach by Athletic Director Ilyan Martinez. Bednorz is a George West native, where she also coached at before stints at Orange Grove and Sinton.
“Taking over this season is definitely an honor,” Coach Tamara Bednorz said. “I am excited to get the season going with assistants Tara Cortinas and Samantha Crowley.”
Crowley coached alongside her brother-in-law Travis during their four year stint and also played her high school days at Blanco. Cortinas was a stand-out softball athlete for Natalia during her school days, played four years at Schreiner University and also assisted Natalia in years prior in softball before exiting and re-joining the program.
Last Friday, the Lady Mustangs opened practice with 13 athletes on the softball diamond.
“We are looking to get 12-15 more once basketball concludes,” Bednorz said. “I expect to have 2 full teams to compete throughout the entire season. This is huge and so important when maintaining a program.”
Looking at the Natalia Softball schedule this season, they will have a number of new faces on the schedule this season beginning with scrimmage action. Natalia opens scrimmage play versus a traditionally tough Beeville squad on January 29th on the road at 6:00 p.m. Other scrimmages are scheduled on February 1st versus Kerrville, on February versus St. Anthony and on February 9th at San Antonio Robert E Lee.
Tourney action this year will include Kerrville, Jourdanton and Seguin Tournaments which will feature a number of great challenges for this talented Lady Mustang squad.
Non-district match-ups will include dates with Ingram, Winston Churchill, Orange Grove, Pearsall, Hondo, Boerne, and Comfort. Of course District 30-3A will be a bit different this year, as Natalia will face Jourdanton, Lytle, Dilley and Cotulla in district action.
Coach Bednorz was asked her plan for the season and she stated the following: “We want to be solid on routine plays. We want to put pressure on the defense, have clutch hitting and be aggressive on base running. We want to play small ball offensively and also be powerful hitters. We simply want to be unorthodox and unpredictable at times also. Defensively, we want to mix it up on the mound and be a solid fielding squad.”
The Lady Mustangs return plenty of talent from a season ago. We will take a look at who is back next week as well as a few new faces that will join the squad.
By Eric Smith