Pitch by pitch, inning by inning, the Truckee softball team is improving.
“The players are doing really well,” said first-year Truckee coach Chris Simpson, whose Wolverines are in a rebuilding year after a tumultuous 2013 campaign. “We’re going in the right direction. Our goal is to keep getting better every game.”
The Truckee squad didn’t have much of a chance last year. Its coach stepped down at the start of the season and five players quit, leaving the Wolverines essentially with a JV roster full of freshmen and sophomores.
This season, however, 51 girls tried out, Simpson said, stressing that the Wolverines’ future looks bright.
“We’re really starting to hit the ball and do the little things that we need to do. We’re scoring runs. We’re right there,” the coach said. “And we’re really starting to gel.”
While the Wolverines have yet to finish on the winning side of a score this season, they’re close. They’ve scored 20 runs over the past four games and almost upset visiting Spring Creek last Friday in a 7-5 loss.
“Truckee was nothing like what we thought,” Spring Creek coach Chad Nelms told the Elko Daily Free Press. “Last year’s team couldn’t make an out, but they’ve gotten a lot better. … They can really hit the ball. Everything comes off their bats. They’ll win some games this year.”
Truckee also surprised Sparks coach Frank Avilla in a 16-9 loss Tuesday.
“Truckee is deceiving,” Avilla told the Daily Sparks Tribune. “We played them in a scrimmage in the beginning of the year and fared well in the scrimmage. But then we played them (Tuesday), and if you look at their scores, they’ve been playing pretty tough.”
Indeed, the Wolverines are gaining confidence with every base hit and defensive gem.
Their coach has been particularly impressed with the offense, which is led by juniors Taylor Stevens and Tori Simpson and freshman Cheyenne Brown.
Brown leads off the batting order and shares the starting pitching role with junior Sylvia Soto, who helped anchor the Wolverines from the pitcher’s circle last season. Katie Fisher, who plays shortstop and catcher, hits second and is followed by Simpson, a first baseman and shortstop, in the third hole. Stevens, a catcher, bats cleanup, and Soto hits fifth.
Senior center fielder Kaylee Neill roams center field and bats sixth, and senior left fielder and third baseman Lauren Peak bats seventh. Both seniors are out for the team after not playing last year. Another senior, right fielder Claire Roberts, is back from a knee injury and batting eighth, and senior second baseman Diana Rosas, who was the only upperclassman on last year’s team, hits ninth.
Also on the 15-member roster are seniors Emily Houghton, Cassidy Rogers and Carina Rivera, juniors Alejandra Venegas and Makenna Poulsen, and sophomore Adela Ortiz.
The Wolverines’ next shot at victory comes May 2-3, when they host a three-game league series against Dayton.
“We need to continue to get better and learn how to not get down when we fall behind in a game,” Simpson said. “We’re trying to finish strong.”