Three 2018 MHS graduates have earned scholarships to play college softball in Colorado and Oregon
Aug 29, 2018 11:53AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Three of these seven Murray High softball players are now moving on to compete at the college level. (Photo courtesy Gabbe Pond)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
The Murray High School softball team had a bit of a disappointing season last spring, as their string of four consecutive region titles was snapped (placing second to West High) and they were put out of the Class 5A state tournament without placing.
But second year head coach Danielle McKay did see nearly half of her graduating seniors (three of seven) earn softball scholarships, to play at the next level in Oregon and Colorado.
“It’s very exciting to see these girls move on to play college ball and they deserve it,” McKay said. “I recommended two of them to a college coach I know very well and they will be teammates next year. The third one is going to play for a coach I don’t know and I didn’t speak to anyone from that program at all. I’m happy for all three of them.”
The future collegiate teammates are Sophie Richmond and Gabbe Pond, who both signed to play for coach Megan Corriea at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. The Lakers athletic teams compete in the Northwest Athletic Association.
Meantime, Sydnie Monson is moving the other direction – to tiny La Junta, Colorado – to play softball at Otero Junior College.
“I posted some video clips of me playing on a recruiting website and I received an email from (Otero) coach (Dwight) Sanders,” Sydnie said. “It was nice to get noticed. So I made a recruiting trip over there last March. My mom drove with me and we had a great time.”
Sydnie said she was supposed to attend an Otero home softball game during her trip. But poor weather conditions forced the game to be cancelled just a few minutes before play was to begin.
“It was so cold, a couple of the bats broke during pregame warmups,” Sydnie added. “My mom came with me to the game, but she stayed in the car and was not upset when it was cancelled.”
Between the cold March temperatures – and the tiny size of La Junta – Sydnie said it was a difficult decision to sign to play at Otero.
“After one last talk with my parents, I just decided to do it,” Sydnie said. “It turned out that was the only school I visited.”
Sydnie has been working this summer at an assisted living center and plans to pursue a career in medicine. She’s grateful for the work her Murray softball coach did to prepare her for college play.
“Danielle is an excellent coach, one of the better ones I have ever had,” she said. “She gives her players lots of one-on-one time and is very mellow. She pushes to get the best out of us. But she never screams at you.”
While Sydnie was earning her Otero scholarship – unbeknownst to coach McKay, beforehand – the second year Murray head coach did play an active role in directing Richmond and Pond up to Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“I got to know coach Corriea while I was living in the Seattle area, also coaching in the Northwest Athletic Association,” McKay said. “She’ll come to me from time to time when she has slots to fill. She trusts my opinion about players.”
Outfielder Gabbe Pond said she has been aware of the Southwestern Oregon softball program for several years and is grateful for the recommendation she received from coach McKay.
“I signed to play there before my senior (Murray High School) season started, on my 19th birthday, March 2nd,” Pond said. “Coach McKay has helped me a lot on the field to be a better defensive player. I also appreciate her putting in a good word for me with coach Corriea.”
In addition to playing for Murray High, Pond has also played four years for the Utah Liberty travel softball team. She said the husband and wife coaches of that team were also critical to helping her earn her scholarship.
“Coaches John and Codee Flores were influential in my scholarship,” Gabbe added. “Every senior-age girl on my Utah Liberty team signed to play college softball this spring, thanks in large part to their efforts.”
While coach McKay was endorsing Gabbe Pond to coach Corriea, that’s also when she recommended Murray HS infielder Sophie Richmond to her former coaching associate.
“Sophie has such a high softball IQ and is one of the best second base players I have ever coached,” McKay said.
Richmond was also a member of the softball Academic All-State team.