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New coach greets roster of returning starters | WRHS FASTPITCH PREVIEW
The spring season is shaping up nicely for the White River High fastpitch team, which has nearly a field full of returning starters, including an impressive sampling of all-league performers.
Molding the group into shape is first-year head coach Brandon Walker. While new to the top job, he’s no stranger to the program, having worked as an assistant for several years.
Pitching is an integral part of the fastpitch game and the Hornets have a No. 1 starter in right-hander Kayla Smith. She garnered all-league honors a season ago as an infielder, during a successful freshman campaign in which she shared hurling duties.
She will be throwing primarily to senior Sam Mitchell, a four-year starter behind the plate and first-team all-league performer a year ago. Mitchell, who provides both power and speed offensively, comes into the season in top form, having just captured a state wrestling championship.
Walker will count on another pair of returning starters in the infield, looking to Brooklyn Isaacs at shortstop and Sam Padilla at third base. The former received second-team all-league honors last season while the latter was accorded honorable mention status.
Among Walker’s tasks will be finding playing time for four quality outfielders. Back are last year’s returning trio of Sutton Mills in left, Lana Caldwell in center and Jordan Jacobs in right. Also factoring into the mix is Dylan Fagan, who started as a sophomore but had to sit out her junior season due to elbow surgery.
The Hornets have made winning a habit, qualifying for the state tournament the past two seasons.