YUMA, Ariz. – When spring rolls around every year, current Matadors and Lady Matadors start signing to continue their playing career at the four-year level. Four softball players have signed to continue their education next year. Sally Gastelo inked with the University of North Texas, and Selena Silva, Karly Turner and Hailey Cookson all signed to play at Ottawa University in Surprise, Arizona.
Gastelo transferred to Arizona Western this season and has been a fixture in the outfield. The sophomore from Yuma is hitting .348 with a .511 slugging percentage. She has nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 30 RBI. Plus, she has scored 39 runs. Gastelo even played catcher for a few games earlier in the season.
The University of North Texas is located in Denton, Texas and plays in Conference USA at the NCAA Division I level. Currently, the Mean Green sit in second in the C-USA West Division.
Cookson is in her second season at AWC, and she has fulfilled the definition of utility player this year. The sophomore has spent time as a pitcher, infielder and outfielder. At the plate she is hitting .388 with a .427 on base percentage. Cookson has one homer, 35 RBI and 35 runs scored. Plus she has posted a 3.21 ERA in 65.1 innings while compiling a 7-2 record in 18 appearances.
Turner has a 3-5 record in the circle in 41.1 innings of work stretched across 13 appearances. The sophomore has spent time as a starter and coming on in relief out of the bullpen. She holds a 5.59 ERA and has one save as well as one complete game during the season.
Silva transferred to AWC this season and has been used as a utility player. She has put together good at bats and has improved throughout the season.
Ottawa University-Arizona is building its athletic teams and expects to play in both the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) according to the school’s athletics website. The campus in Surprise, Arizona is scheduled to open this fall, but the school has had a presence in Arizona since 1977 (per a press release).
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.