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Whittell softball has playoffs on its mind entering 2015 season

Anthony Gentile
agentile@tahoedailytribune.com
Whittell softball team captains (left to right) Kelsey Kjer, Daria Sharon and Dominique Ogilvie will lead the Warriors during the 2015 season. Whittell began its season Friday at Hug.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

2015 WHITTELL SOFTBALL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

March 6 at Hug, 3:30 p.m.

*March 10 at Pyramid Lake, 3 p.m.

March 13-14 Yerington Tournament (at Smith Valley)

March 17 vs. Hug, 3:30 p.m.

*March 21 vs. Wells, 11 a.m. (DH)

*March 24 vs. Smith Valley, 4 p.m.

*March 28 vs. Eureka, 11 a.m. (DH)

*April 1 vs. Coleville 2 p.m. (DH)

April 3-4 Tournament at Stodick Park

*April 18 at Carlin, TBD

*April 21 vs. Pyramid Lake, 3 p.m.

*April 25 at Mineral County, 11 a.m. (DH)

*April 28 at Smith Valley, 3 p.m.

*May 2 at Virginia City, 11 a.m. (DH)

*League games

Home games in bold (played at Lampe Park in Gardnerville)

After missing the playoffs by a painfully narrow margin a season ago, the 2015 Whittell softball team has its sights set on returning to the playoffs. Despite only having one senior on this year’s team, the Warriors enter the campaign optimistic for success.

“I’m excited to see where our team goes,” Warriors senior catcher/left fielder Dominique Ogilvie said. “We all get along this year, and we look like we’re going to have a good season.”

Whittell went 14-9 last season to finish with a winning record for the fourth year in a row, but ultimately fell one game short of its ultimate goal. The Warriors needed a sweep of Virginia City in their last doubleheader of the season, and split to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“That was horrible — having it come down to one doubleheader and having us split the games,” Whittell junior center fielder Daria Sharon said. “It will push us to really, really want to make the playoffs.”

“We have a lot of potential and we’re all really athletic.”Kelsey KjerWarriors junior starting pitcher

Whittell had five seniors on its 2014 squad — a contrast to this year’s team. Ogilvie is the Warriors’ lone senior, and hit .273 as a junior in her first year on varsity last season.

“Dom is going to bring a lot of leadership to the team,” Warriors third-year head coach Dave Galicia said. “As a senior it’s really her chance to blossom, and I think she’s up for that challenge right now. She has really impressed me with her batting so far.”

Ogilvie is one of three captains for Whittell this season along with Sharon and junior Kelsey Kjer, who will be the team’s main starting pitcher. Galicia said the Warriors’ three captains all bring a different an aspect to the game — Ogilvie is a tenacious competitor, Kelsey Kjer is focused on the field and Sharon is constantly analyzing the game.

“We have everything — we have a girl that’s tenacious, we have a girl that’s very focused and then a girl that is very analytical as far as understanding the game,” Galicia said. “We cover the bases really well with those captains.”

As the team’s starting pitcher last season, Kelsey Kjer threw 95 innings and finished with a 10-7 record in 16 starts. She finished 2014 with 84 strikeouts and a 2.73 ERA — and Galicia believes she can be dominant in 2015.

“She has a good control of the strike zone, she’s stronger this year and she is going to have a big impact,” Galicia said.

Sharon runs Whittell’s outfield defensively, and uses her speed in both sides of the game — as a sophomore last year, she was second on the team with 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts. Other key returning players for the Warriors include junior first baseman Jordyn Becker and sophomore first baseman Eva Fuller — Fuller hit two home runs last season and was a second-team all-league selection.

“We have a lot of potential and we’re all really athletic,” Kelsey Kjer said.

Amongst Whittell’s six juniors, outfielders Aliza McLey and Madison Malone also played varsity last season while outfielder Tatum Libert is new to the team. Sophomore Madison Idso will be the Warriors’ backup pitcher and fellow sophomore Ali Copsy will see time at shortstop.

The Warriors enter the season with five freshmen on their roster, most of which haven’t played softball before. First-year players Allison Bell, Taimani Hussey, Kaitlyn Kjer, Lacey Robinson and Makena Snipes all have the chance to make an impact in 2015 — Galicia said as many as two freshmen will start for the Warriors throughout the season.

“It’s a little bit of a challenge keeping them focused — when you deal with upperclassmen and lowerclassmen there definitely is a difference in maturity, physical strength and also coordination,” Galicia said.

“Keeping the practices challenging for the upperclassmen and veteran players while also trying not to lose the freshmen is challenging — it helps out to have extra coaches.”

Galicia said Whittell’s key for a successful season is the development of its not-so-seasoned players. Early on, the Warriors’ more experienced players see that as a welcomed challenge.

“We have a lot of freshmen and we’re excited to get them ready to play,” Kelsey Kjer said. “We have to start from the beginning with all of them, but they’re all eager to learn.”

Whittell opened its season Friday at Hug (Reno, Nev.), and begins Div. IV Northern League play at Pyramid Lake next Tuesday. After playing in the Smith Valley Tournament next Friday and Saturday, the Warriors make their home debut at Lampe Park against Hug on Tuesday, March 17.

“For the girls it’s about playing better today than they did yesterday — and it will all fall into place,” Galicia said.


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