Whittell aims for state softball tournament in 2009
Whittell High’s returning softball players haven’t forgotten how last season ended: A 12-10 defeat to North Tahoe denied the Warriors a postseason berth and sent them into the offseason disgusted.
The Warriors led that infamous game 6-0 at one point and took a two-run lead into the final inning.
“All these returning girls remember that game like it was played last week. They were not happy about it,” said Whittell coach Rich Barna, whose team will play those same Lakers on Friday in their season opener. “Whittell has a history of going to the playoffs. When they miss a chance, that doesn’t sit well with them.
“I think they are going to work to not let that happen again.”
Even though two of last year’s top players ” first-team all-leaguer Abby Kingman and second-teamer Austyn Harrington ” have graduated, Barna is encouraged about the cast of players who return.
“They are a team. That’s what they are. You can’t teach teamwork. It has to come from them,” Barna said. “They like each other, and they work hard for each other.”
Back to lead the Warriors is Justina Pritzker, who hit .333 and stole 17 bases last year. She also delivered three of Whittell’s nine victories on the mound.
“She’s a key for us,” said Barna, adding that No. 2 hurler Marissa Besson pitched last year as a freshman and is improving.
Rachel Laub will step into Kingman’s spot at shortstop, Besson will play second base, Katie Poet will move from center field to third base, and Sarah Ehrler and Heather Esquivel are expected to share time at first base.
The Warriors must also replace Stephanie Betts, who handled the catching duties last year.
Chaine Paradis, a third-player, is Barna’s most experienced outfielder, and Kati Sczepanski has shown promise early in the season.
Following practice on Saturday, Barna took his team to the University of Reno to watch a softball game between the Pack and the Oregon Ducks.
“I wanted them to see what the game looks like at a higher level and what it takes to get to that place. My players were very attentive to what was going on,” Barna said.
Barna is pleased with the coaching staff that he’s assembled to help his 15-player roster improve. Whittell assistants are Joe Besson, Lindsey Henry and Dave Galicia.
The Warriors won’t be content with making the playoffs. They want to play deep into May.
“Going to the regional playoffs is good. We want to try and go on to state. They seem up to it,” Barna said.
On opening day, the Warriors also play Coleville at 4:30 p.m. and Lone Pine immediately after the Coleville game.
2009 Whittell High
Date Opponent Time
Friday N. Tahoe at Yerington Noon
Friday Coleville at Yerington 4:30 p.m.
Friday Lone Pine at Yerington TBA
Saturday Sm. Valley at Yerington 1:30 p.m.
Saturday S. Stage at Yerington 4:30 p.m.
March 17 At Smith Valley 3:30 p.m.
March 20 Warrior tournament TBA
March 21 Warrior tournament TBA
March 24 COLEVILLE 3:30 p.m.
March 25 DAYTON 3:30 p.m.
March 28 Incline (DH) Noon
April 4 At North Tahoe (DH) Noon
April 7 TRUCKEE 3:30 p.m.
April 11 At Silver Stage (DH) Noon
April 14 At Coleville 3:30 p.m.
April 18 BATTLE MTN. (DH) Noon
April 21 Smith Valley 3:30 p.m.
April 23 At Truckee 3:30 p.m.
April 27 NORTH VALLEYS 3:30 p.m.
April 30 At Virginia City 3:30 p.m.
May 2 LOVELOCK (DH) Noon
May 5 VIRGINIA CITY 3:30 p.m.
May 9 HAWTHORNE (DH) Noon
May 15 Regional tournament TBA
May 16 Regional tournament TBA
May 22 State tournament TBA
May 23 State tournament TBA
Note: Home games in ALL CAPS.