Richmond Oilers head softball coach Rosalind “Roz” Randle wore a long white blouse, blue stretch pants, baby blue ankle socks and shower slippers as she stood in the dusty third base dugout Wednesday evening at Salesian High School. More team uniforms were on order, she said, as the second-year coach shouted instructions through the chained linked fence. “Mo stop biting your nails,” she said to her third baseman, Moesha Samuel, as a Salesian runner danced off the bag ready to score.
“Moesha is a really good catcher,” she said later. “People very seldom run on her. I just give her a hard time sometimes.”
As Samuel spat her nail into the dirt a line drive shot right past her to score the prancing Salesian runner. “That should have been you Mo,” said Randle with her fingers and nose pressed to the chained link fence. “You could have got that ball. Move something. You can’t be lazy on three. I’m going to switch you.”
Salesian went on to win the pre-season game 21-0. The Lady Oilers’ sole highlight came in the bottom of the fourth inning when center fielder Zuleyma Garcia reacted to the sound of the ball coming off the bat, and with the setting sun in her face, made a heroic diving catch. “I was out of it for a moment, but then I just went and got it,” she said of her electrifying gem.
Randle said she played everyone out of position so that her players could get used to other positions. “I just don’t want to stick them with one [position],” said the Oilers’ head coach and North Richmond Panthers summer softball league coach. “I’m just letting them get a feel of it. Our weakness is the pitching—we don’t have no pitching coaches.”
No pitching coach, no problem. Randel said she’s going to take her team to watch a Contra Costa College softball doubleheader on Tuesday, and after the game their pitching coach would put on a short clinic for them. “I talk to Willie [McGee] a lot, and Rachel the new [Contra Cost College] softball coach, and we were thinking it would be a good idea, if players weren’t going out of state, to send them over to CC and play softball there,” she said. “They’re lacking on players. We can be a feeder school [for them].”
And even though the Lady Oilers took a beating on Wednesday, it’s this kind of resourcefulness and likable personality that is winning over players. Lady Oilers’ right fielder Brittany Ferguson said she’s been playing softball for 12 years and has never had a coach like her. “She’s not like any other woman coach,” she said after the game. “I feel like we can trust her and talk to her about anything—not just 100 percent softball. But she is honest about our techniques, and I think she’s really positive to our team.”
The Lady Oilers’ next game is March 20 at Richmond High against De Anza. First pitch is at 4 p.m.