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3:25 PM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Yavapai softball hires new pitching coach, recruiting coordinator

Junior College Softball

Erika Bennett has been hired as Yavapai College's new pitching coach/recruiting coordinator. (Courtesy)

Erika Bennett has been hired as Yavapai College's new pitching coach/recruiting coordinator. (Courtesy)

Erika Bennett replaces departed Jennifer Stalter

PRESCOTT — Fifth-year Yavapai College softball coach Doug Eastman on Friday announced the hiring of Erika Bennett as the program’s new pitching coach/recruiting coordinator.

Bennett, a native of Hereford, southeast of Sierra Vista, replaces former Roughriders pitching coach Jennifer Stalter, who spent the past four years on Eastman’s staff. Stalter has accepted a job at a veterinary clinic in Scottsdale, Yavapai College Athletic Director Brad Clifford said.

“I couldn’t be more excited to add someone with her energy, experience and her credibility in the game of softball,” Eastman said of Bennett in a news release. “Our pitching staff will benefit from her expertise and passion, and she will be an integral part of our success.”

Bennett will begin working at Yavapai’s Prescott campus on Monday, July 23, Clifford added.

In 2010, Bennett led Miami Dade College of Florida to an NJCAA Division I national championship. Ironically, she and Miami Dade beat the Roughriders, 11-1, in the NJCAA National Tournament’s winners’ bracket that year. Bennett was subsequently named NJCAA Tournament MVP upon compiling a 4-0 record with a 0.54 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 26 innings.

After leaving Miami Dade, Bennett pitched for Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where she recorded six wins while appearing mainly as a relief pitcher. During her senior season, Bennett registered a 2.26 ERA and a 4-1 record. She ended her career with a 3.21 ERA and 86 strikeouts, holding batters to a .241 average.

Bennett, who remains a standing member of the Mexican National Softball team, can still suit up for the squad in international play. She has had college coaching stints at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, near Cleveland; Dodge City Community College in Kansas; Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers; and, most recently, at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Yavapai College, the two-time defending Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Division I champion, ended the 2018 season with a 49-13 overall record. The Roughriders, who captured national titles in 2009 and 2011, last qualified for nationals in 2016.

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.