Sports

Tahoma again pitching for perfection | High School Softball

The Tahoma softball sluggers  dominated Kent Meridian with an 11-0 win on March 31. The win upped the Bears record to 4-0, keeping pace with their undefeated conference run in 2013.  - Eric Mandel, The Reporter
The Tahoma softball sluggers dominated Kent Meridian with an 11-0 win on March 31. The win upped the Bears record to 4-0, keeping pace with their undefeated conference run in 2013.
— image credit: Eric Mandel, The Reporter

It’s hard to improve on an undefeated conference season that ended with the South Puget Sound League 4A North’s top player, pitcher and coach and a top three finish in state. But with all three of those pieces returning, the Tahoma softball team has a chance at greatness.

The Bears have returned to the fastpitch diamond in 2014 right where they left off, winning their first four games, as of press time on Tuesday. Last year’s best hitter and pitcher, Mia Corbin and Carley Nance, both returned and are off to fast starts.

Head coach Tom Milligan isn’t making any lofty predictions, only saying that he is confident his group can challenge as a state caliber club.

“You have to have some luck,” said Miligan, in his 10th year as head coach. “A lot of things can happen between here and May.”

 

Kentwood

Goals and expectations

For the first time in many years, Kentwood failed to make the postseason in 2013 after posting a 7-9 league record, marred by injuries. Head coach Jason Wisor said the team is determined to turn things around and compete for a league title, as well as to advance to the state tournament.

Challenges:

Wisor said this is the first time as a head coach that he does not have a returning catcher.

“We are currently trying a number of girls at the position and working in a lot of players that have little to no varsity playing experience,” he said.

Top returners:

• Kendall Goodwin (junior, pitcher) — Named to the SPSL first-team SPSL in 2012 and second-team in 2013.

• Tiana Faagalulu (senior, SS/3B) — Back-to-back first-team SPSL honors in 2012 and 2013.

• McKenna Johnson (junior, 2B) — Apart of the SPSL second-team in 2013.

• Courtni Easton (junior, SS/3B) — Joined her teammates with an SPSL second-team award in 2013.

Newcomers:

• Allison Haines (senior, catcher/OF)

• Ashleigh Key (senior, catcher/1B/pitcher)

• Jaclyn Rainer (senior, OF)

Kentlake

Goals and expectations:

After advancing to the West Central District Tournament in 2013, first year head coach Kevin Smith hopes for a return run to the playoffs. Beyond that, he wants his ladies to represent the school with class and to “work together and put aside personal goals for the team’s best interest.”

Challenges:

The team will be without Madoline Seumalo, an all-league first baseman, for a majority of the season because of an injury.

Top returners:

• Kayla Strand (senior, pitcher/CF) — Co-captain and leader who took over as centerfielder midway through last season.

• Regan Rudisill (senior, SS) — Other captain who moved to shortstop after strong play as 3rd baseman in 2013.

• Katie Habryle (junior, pitcher/catcher) — Top notch hitter who brings stability to the field from behind the plate.

Newcomers:

• Brooke Bennett (sophomore, 1B/SS) — Moved to Kentlake this year and is solid at the plate and in the field.

• Kalina Despain (sophomore, 2B) — Great attitude. Played a minor role with varsity 2013.

Tahoma

Goals and expectations:

Tahoma finished third in state in 2013, going undefeated in the SPSL North division and 27-5 overall. The group took third place in the state tournament and the core returned. Still, Milligan keeps his expectations to a minimum: top five finish in league, with an opportunity to compete in the State tournament.

Challenges:

Miligan says the state tournament is always tough, and that injuries and school issues are always a concern.

“You still have to play the game,” he said.

Top returners:

• Mia Corbin (sophomore, SS) — The SPSL North MVP in 2013 batted .443, scored 46 runs and notched 43 stolen bases.

• Halle Elliott (senior, OF) — First Team SPSL, who batted .485 with 31 RBI’s.

• Morgan Engelhardt (senior, 3B) — 1st team SPSL, who batted .453 with 29 RBI’s.

• Maddie Scott (Junior, pitcher) — 2nd Team SPSL with a 11-1-2 record, 2.40 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 2013.

• Carley Nance (sophomore, pitcher) — SPSL North MVP pitcher posted a 16-4 record, 2.24 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 2013.

Newcomers:

• Emily Bishop (junior, RF)

• Kinzi Sanders (freshman, C)

• Morgan Cloud (freshman, 2B)

 

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