Big Bats and strong arms lead Vikings’ softball |

Big Bats and strong arms lead Vikings’ softball

Matt O'Neill

With eight seniors returning, the South Tahoe High Viking softball team has its eyes set on having a great season.

Of those eight seniors, six have already committed to play softball in college, which makes the Vikings a formidable foe in 2001.

“This is the best group of players the school’s ever seen,” senior Jill Barna said.

Anchored by a trio of seasoned pitchers, the Vikings have both the offensive power and pitching to compete with the teams in the valley.

Vanessa Porter, Heather Roderick and Corrine Edwards are all heading into their final season inside the pitcher’s circle and look to end their careers on a positive note.

“They are all seasoned and have pitched for three years,” Viking coach Rich Barna said.

The Vikings shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring runs either. Last season, South Tahoe was only shut out by two teams, Wooster and Carson.

The only part of the game that could cause the Vikings some trouble could be their defense.

South Tahoe took itself out of a lot of games because of poor play on the field, but Porter feels that is all in the past.

Practicing in a gym for most of the preseason doesn’t allow South Tahoe to get a great feel for the way the ball plays on the dirt infield and grass.

“It does make a difference (practicing in the gym), but you can’t use that as an excuse,” the senior pitcher said. “We’ve been playing together long enough to make the transition from the gym to the field.”

The prospect of spending their early season practices on the hardwood is nothing new to the Vikings and Barna isn’t concerned with the fact that schools in the valley are already on the field.

“We’ve worked the indoor practices down to a science,” the second-year coach said. “Most schools don’t have four feet of snow on their diamond.”

Barna improved his team’s chances to play on a field in the middle of February when his Tahoe Smoke club team (all but two players from the Smoke play varsity for the Vikings) went to Florida for a spring training session.

While in Florida, the Smoke was competitive with two nationally ranked high schools, Cocoa and Cocoa Beach high schools. The Smoke fell to Cocoa 2-0 and to Cocoa Beach 8-5, but they gained valuable experience.

“It was really helpful,” Jill Barna said. “It was tiring, but it was great to be on the field.”

In addition to the strong pitching, many of the Vikings can hit the ball. Barna looks for his batting order to be strong from top to bottom, with many of his seniors playing significant roles in the offense.

Jill Barna, Vanessa Porter and Stefanie Terry lead a group of powerful hitters who should produce a lot of runs for the Vikings.

“I’m not worried about the other pitching because I know we can hit the ball,” coach Barna said. “With our group of seniors and Libby Bigelow, who will probably be the designated hitter, our lineup is pretty tough.”

It will have to be for the Vikings to succeed in the strong Northern Nevada 4A League.

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