Williams, Wissel lead Wildcats in softball
The success of the Fruita Monument High School softball team doesn’t depend solely on Brooke Williams and Ashleigh Wissel, but the better Williams and Wissel play, the more dangerous the Wildcats are.
On a team stacked with talent, Williams is the Wildcats’ two time all-Southwestern League third baseman, and Wissel is an all-league catcher for the Wildcats.
Williams is one of five seniors on the team, and has proven to be one of the most physically gifted players in the Grand Valley.
“Brooke is about as smooth as they come,” Fruita Monument coach Jamie Dunn said. “She’s dead on target defensively, and on the base path, she’s always thinking, always looking to take the next base.”
Williams showed off that aggressiveness during the Wildcats’ first weekend of the season in the Peach Fuzz tournament. Against Thomas Jefferson, Williams belted a double and a triple, using her speed and experience to get the extra bases. The next weekend at the Dave Sanders tournament, Williams continued to play well, going 3 for 4 against both ThunderRidge and Columbine.
“She brings experience,” Dunn said. “As a senior, she’s really good with the team. She maintains her intensity and doesn’t get really high or really low.”
Williams has started for the Wildcats since she was a freshman, and said she isn’t afraid of anything, or anyone on the diamond.
“I’m way more relaxed out there now,” Williams said. “I have more confidence knowing I can play with all the girls on the field.”
Like Williams, Wissel has been starting since she was a freshman. After moving from the outfield, Wissel is in her second year at catcher. But Wissel’s biggest upside is what she can do at the plate.
She is the Wildcats’ cleanup hitter, and that’s exactly what she’s done for the team so far this year. She’s batting .357 with 11 RBI, four doubles and two home runs.
“Ashley is such a good kid, and works so hard,” Dunn said. “She goes 100 percent at practice, and makes everyone around her better.”
Dunn said Wissel is talented enough behind the plate that she calls her own game when working with an experienced pitching staff that includes Krystina Pacheco and Erika Chirdon.
Wissel said she’s able to do that because of her ability to immerse herself in the game.
“I think I’m able to get into the game, and focus on it really well,” Wissel said. “We have a strong pitching staff, and I’m with them year round, so I’m confident in them.”
Fruita’s pitching staff was crucial to the Wildcats’ success at last weekend’s Sanders tournament. The Wildcats finished 4-1 and outscored their opponents 39-21 in what is regarded as one of the best pre-league tournaments in the state. But now is when it really counts as the Wildcats begin Southwestern League play today against Grand Junction.