RACHEL SMITH IS BACK HOME.
And she is ready to bring the "W's" back.
"It is very special, I wanted to come back to Goose Creek CISD to bring back that competitive, winning culture," Smith said. "I want us to win here. I want to bring that culture and instill that in these girls."
Two years ago, Goose Creek Memorial was on the outside of the playoffs looking in, finishing fifth in district. Coming into this spring, GCM returned four starters including Marissa Bennett, who is committed to Jarvis Christian College.
"She's one of our seniors who has been working extremely hard," Smith said about Bennett. "I think because of losing half our season last year that she has come back even more hungry. She's growing each day.
"She adds depth to offense and is a utility player. She plays hard wherever she is placed on the field."
Autumn Lopez was the Patriots' No.1 pitcher last year and continues that role into this season. Smith says Lopez is a "dog on the mound" and wants the ball every game.
"She has a great mentality about her and she's always smiling. That's what you always want as a coach is a kid with a great attitude."
Lizbeth Hernandez has experience at every infield position over her four-year career at GCM and can be counted on to lead the team when there is adversity, Smith says. Melanie Garcia bounces between the infield and outfield for GCM and carries a positive attitude in everything she does.
Other players to watch include Miranda Gonzalez and Morgan Faubion, who Smith considers a "stud" on the diamond. Ambrie Williams is another pitcher for GCM but can also play anywhere on the field. "These girls have great team chemistry," Smith said. "They are always laughing and giggling. That's all you can ask for as a coach."
Goose Creek Memorial looks to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and try to win their first-ever playoff series in 2021.