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Whittell softball preview

Michael Traum

The Whittell High softball team comes into the 1997 season playing an unfamiliar tune – experience.

With 10 returners from a team that started coming together at the end of last year, coach Keith Lewis like his chances this time around.

“I’m excited about this season. Towards the end of last year, the girls were competing. The girls started making plays and feeling comfortable in their positions. That translates into game confidence,” Lewis said. “I’m hoping we can start where we left off.”

Sophomore Sara Van Cleemput and junior Aurora Terry will handle most of the pitching duties. Both have last year under their belts and have been striving to improve.

“We have a pitching coach working with them. We won’t have a lot of speed increase. But they’ll be throwing strikes,” Lewis said.

With consistent pitching comes the need to make plays in the field. The Warriors have experience at nearly every position and Lewis said that will be key.

“As our defense goes, we will go. We’ve got girls who have played and can make the plays,” he said.

Terry, a first-team all-league selection at shortstop last year, will anchor the middle; with Jana Martin at first, Jennie Knutson, second; and Amanda Eaton, third. Jennifer Miles will fill left field and Georgia Novotny is in center, with a “position by committee” out in right.

“We can’t give the other team more than three outs per inning. I feel really good about our defense,” Lewis said.

Rebecca Wells and Alethia Flores are the team’s only two seniors. With continued improvement, Lewis expects solid things in the future.

“When you only win four games the previous season, naturally there’s some doubt,” Lewis said. “I keep telling the girls to believe in their talent. I fully expect to be a .500 team.

“Realistically, we’re a couple of years away from competing in the upper echelon in this tough division. But it’s an important year. We need to just keep adding on to this core of girls. We have to look at the big picture. It won’t happen overnight.”

Whittell opens the season Saturday at the Lovelock Tournament with games against Lovelock, Carlin and North Tahoe.


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