Panther fastpitch, baseball squads ready to start swinging | 2016 Spring Sports Previews

Grant Townsend was one of the many seniors to graduate out of the Panther's baseball team.

Fastpitch crew looking to show improvement

The Panther fastpitch team is eager to play ball after last year’s disappointing 8-12 record, said seven-season coach Andrew Sage.

Bonney Lake will see many players from last season return to the team, including seniors Melanie Torr and Robin Morin, juniors Eleseana Quintanar, Kira Mitchell, Emma Sulkosky and Joey Ahern, and sophomore Raelyn Kimmel.

“We have several outstanding returners,” said Sage. “Joey Ahern is a returning junior that is a two year starter at first base. She is a career .375 hitter.”

Kimmel and Clark combined to hit .357 with six home runs during last season, Sage continued, and Morin was hitting a .350 until a late season injury pulled her short.

New to the team this year is sophomore Jessica Clark and freshmen Hailee Hagins, Jessica Hulbowsky, Gabby Jones, Brooke Nelson and Shelby Welfinger.

Although the team will miss Courtney Campbell, last season’s senior catcher, Sage said the team this year is stronger and rearing to get the school back on track.

The Panthers’ first game is 4 p.m. March 15, at Mount Rainier High School. The team’s first home game is 4 p.m. March 17 against Emerald Ridge.

Olson countin on strong nucleus to lead baseball

Panther baseball tryouts are complete and the team is ready to start swinging, said coach Mike Olson, who has coached Bonney Lake’s baseball team for 11 seasons.

Returning to the plate this year is senior Zac Horne with junior Robby Pogue and sophomore Matthew Gretler.

“Senior Zac Horne will be our ace on the mound. He really finished the year strong, including a complete-game playoff victory in a loser-out contest against Kennedy,” said Olson. “Junior Robby Pogue and sophomore Matthew Gretler are coming of big seasons as well; Matthew was first team all-SPSL last season as a freshman, and Robby received honorable mention recognition at third base.”

The Panthers had 10 graduating athletes last year, seven of them heading to college sports, Olson said.

“That’s tough to replace for certain,” he elaborated. “That said, we’ve got a strong core with the three previously mentioned athletes, and a great group of newcomers.”

New to the team this year are seniors Tad Reindl and Kyle Muller, juniors Riley Teed, Cameron Campbell and Joe Hinkens and sophomores Peyton Brock, Adam Fashel, Gavyn Tinsley, Tyler McClain, Braydon Tressler and Drake Liske.

Last year, the Panther’s loss to Columbia during the postseason cut the teams chance at a state title short, but Olson said he is very excited to see this team compete on the varsity level.

Bonney Lake’s first game will be 4 p.m. March 11 at Decatur High School. The first tentative home game of the season will be 4 p.m. March 15 against Kennedy Catholic.