Bryan Waller believed she had potential, and it did not take long for Elliana Doubleday to prove him right.
Upon arriving at Copperas Cove last summer, Waller, who was named the Lady Bulldawgs’ third head softball coach in three years, immediately recognized the centerfielder’s future was bright.
While Doubleday’s talent was obvious, something else about the senior caught his eye and calmed his conscience.
“I knew she had the ability to be very good,” Waller said, “and once I saw her work ethic on a daily basis, I knew she was going to catch on real quickly.”
And she did.
Doubleday led the Lady Bulldawgs in at bats, runs, hits, batting average and stolen bases during 2014, guiding Copperas Cove to the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
In the process, Doubleday earned a spot on the 8-5A All-District First Team, but her ability was also recognized outside the area.
Doubleday was recently placed on the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 5A All-State Team, and after seeing her in action on a daily basis, Waller was not surprised by the honor.
“In my opinion, she is a Division I-caliber athlete,” he said. “She stacks up with anybody else that made that list.”
A total of 40 players were placed on the team, including five area standouts.
In addition to Doubleday, Belton juniors Bekah Alcozer and Skylar Stewart were selected, along with district rivals Lexi Smith, of Temple, and Alexia Rowe, of Waco Midway.
Stewart was named the district offensive player of the year after leading the Lady Tigers to the district championship, producing a .545 batting average with 30 RBIs and five home runs during the team’s 13-1 run to the title.
Texas commit Alcozer batted .514, hit two home runs and accounted for 14 RBIs during district, landing on the all-district first team as a junior.
Doubleday was also a first-team selection after finishing the year with a .422 batting average, going 43 for 109 with 31 runs scored, 11 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.
While Waller always saw potential in Doubleday, who is committed to play for Western Texas, her play at the Lady Bulldawgs’ first tournament of the season at Seguin convinced him she was legitimate.
“She was one of the best players there,” he recalled. “She got on base against all of the better teams we faced, and I knew then and there that she had it. She was going to be a special player.”