SEWARD, Neb. – A pair of Southern California natives put pen to paper last week in pledging their commitments to head coach Todd LaVelle and the Concordia University softball program. Both Krystall Padilla (Coronoa, Calif.) and Ronee Watson (Riverside, Calif.) visited campus during the weekend of Oct. 9-10 and are set to become Bulldogs in the fall of 2016.
Padilla and Watson raved about the experiences they’ve had on visits to Concordia and the Seward community. Said Padilla, “The community is amazing. The people are so nice. It’s gorgeous. It’s an amazing place. It’s going to be like my second home.”
Watson’s comments mirrored those of her high school club travel teammate of American Pastime Gold. Watson actually influenced Padilla to take a closer look at Concordia. “It’s so welcoming. It’s safe,” Watson said. “The community is amazing. Everybody is just so nice and welcoming.”
LaVelle expects both Golden State natives to be great additions to a program that has made back-to-back appearances at the national tournament.
“They’re two outstanding players from the state of California,” LaVelle said. “Most importantly, they’re very good student-athletes. They’re good people that will fit in well, too.”
LaVelle knew of AP Gold from his time coaching at the high school and club levels in Nebraska. Both Padilla and Watson were starters for the outfit that has churned out several NCAA Division I recruits. LaVelle sees Watson as a potential starting first baseman and Padilla as a key part of the future pitching staff.
The California duo has been recruited by LaVelle for roughly two years. During that time Watson has been a frequent visitor to Concordia. Says LaVelle, “They love it out here.” Watson had never previously been to the state of Nebraska but has a grandfather that was born in the Cornhusker State. LaVelle saw both play during a prominent summer showcase.
Watson was happy to make it official. It was easy to buy into the culture she saw at Concordia. “About a year-and-a-half ago I called Coach LaVelle and spoke with him,” Watson said. “He got me out here and I just fell in love with the coaching staff, the girls and the overall feeling that I got.”
The campus visit is what sold Padilla, who stated, “I heard about it but I never took it into consideration until I actually saw it and got to see what it’s all about.”
AP Gold currently boasts a national ranking of 20th and a California state ranking of No. 6. Padilla is a senior at Corona High School while Watson is in her final year at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside.