The White River High fastpitch squad is looking to buck a depressing trend, having served as the South Puget Sound League 3A doormat with a 1-13 record two years running.
The season hasn’t even begun, but a hungry Hornet machine is down one vital cog. Junior centerfielder, Kelsi Tyler tore her anterior cruciate ligament while playing basketballd.
“Without question, losing a great team leader like Kelsi will hurt us,” said second-year Hornet skipper Joe Sprouse, “but injuries are part of sports and hopefully someone will step up to fill in for her.”
The two gleaming rays of optimism in 2009 are: the Hornets didn’t lose any players to graduation and they will have three different pitchers to call upon.
That trio will include junior Megan Dietrich, who will likely be the ace of the staff, newcomer sophomore Sara Steinmetz, who is known for her location and will be doubling as a second baseman, and senior Kelsie Kauzlarich, who hit better than .300 last season and may be spending a bit more time in the outfield.
Other girls stationed in the outfield will be juniors Brianna McMillen, Aubrey Custer and Hannah Dahlem.
Playing the corners at first and third base will be juniors Kaylee Rohler and Kandie Kujawa, respectively. Shortstop chores will be shared by McMillen and sophomore Jordynn Smith.
Handling the catching tasks will be sophomore Brooke Paulson, who is not only is sound with her glove, but is also one of the reliable clutch hitters, as she too hit better than .300 in 2008.
The trials and tribulations of the season will come soon enough as White River will engage in one nonleague encounter before plunging into league games. The lone preseason clash will come at 3:30 p.m. Friday when White River goes to Highline.