Artichoke softball looks to rebound under interim coach

Freddie Cabanillas is in charge and hoping to lead SCC softball into a new era


Ole Olafson/Scottsdale Chronicle

Freddie Cabanillas was named interim head coach of SCC’s softball team on Sept. 1. The Artichokes lost 43 of 60 games in 2016.

Ole Olafson, Senior Audio Producer, Scottsdale Chronicle

On Sept. 1, Freddie Cabanillas was named interim head coach of the Scottsdale Community College women’s softball team. Cabanillas had been an assistant coach with the program for the past three seasons, originally coaching alongside Robert Wagner and, for the last two seasons, Wagner’s wife Caylyn.

In an emailed statement to the Chronicle, SCC Athletic Director Mike McNally said Cabanillas was given the opportunity to step in as interim head coach for this season after Caylyn Wagner resigned in order to accompany Robert to South Dakota, where he had accepted a coaching position.

“It’s business as usual,” Cabanillas said. “It’s been a great transition. We’ve got a great athletic department and fantastic athletes.”

Another factor which may be helping to ease Cabanillas into his new responsibilities are the 10 returning student athletes from last year’s roster. Chief among these veteran players are pitchers Kallie Christman, Danica Cooke and Bailey Honne and catcher Lynzee Bollinger.

“It’s extremely important to develop some type of a program that has returning pitching and catching so that you’re not reinventing the wheel, basically, every season,” Cabanillas said.

Christman and sophomore outfielder Faith Romero seem to appreciate the different coaching style and approach to the game that Cabanillas brings to the head coaching position.
“With a more laid-back style everyone will be on the same page,” Christman said. “I think it will slow things down and everyone will be confident in their ability.

“He’ll explain something to you rather than yell at you,” Christman added. “He will take the time to make sure you understand what’s going on. It feels like a more relaxed environment. I feel like everyone can breathe.”

Romero said that most successful college programs stress the mental aspects of the game and she likes the way the Artichokes are moving under Cabanillas.

“It feels like we’re going to learn more; like learn how to play the game mentally,” Romero said. “He really wants to get us mentally prepared.”

Romero is looking for the team to rebound quickly after a difficult 2016 season. The Artichokes started 0-23 and finished with a 17-43 win-loss record.

“We want to do really well. Last year wasn’t a good year for us,” Romero said. “We want to go out [this spring] and make a statement and I think we can do that.”

The Artichokes begin their season on Jan. 31 at Mesa CC. The team’s home opener is Feb. 4 against South Mountain CC. All home games are played at the softball field in the Arthur W. Decabooter Athletics Complex on the SCC campus.