The Bonney Lake Panthers start the season off with a rivalry game against the Sumner Spartans on Saturday, March 15.
Coach Andrew Sage is returning for his sixth season.
Sage has been coaching since 1995 but he hasn’t always coached softball.
He started as a football and baseball coach and in 1998 he started coaching softball at Issaquah High School.
“I fell in love with it,” he said.
When Sage started coaching the Panthers, he took over midway through a season when the head coach resigned.
This will be his sixth year as a softball coach. And this will be his fifth full season as the Panthers head coach.
“Five years and five state tournaments,” Sage said. “I have a good feeling about this year.”
As last season started, the Panthers were chosen to finish fifth in the conference but finished second one game behind the Enumclaw Hornets.
Bonney Lake ended with a 20-8 record.
Sage said five seniors graduated, his biggest group of graduated players he’s ever had.
Aside from graduating seniors from last season, Sage said five starters are returning this season.
“We still definitely have our work cut out for us this season,” he said.
One senior, Sage said has already committed to playing at the next level after graduating.
Pitcher Melisa Charron has signed to play at George Fox University next fall. Charron was first team all conference last season and had 162 strikeouts, Sage said.
With the weather not cooperating lately, Sage said most of the team’s time has been spent in the gym.
He added that this week has been tryouts and teams were just named.
“Now that we have separated into teams, we have a lot of work to do before the season starts,” Sage said.
Sage credits his coaching staff and the talented players as to the success of the Panthers.
Five of the six coaches are entering their fifth year of coaching together.
“We all know what we’re doing together and I can trust them to do their job,” he said. “We have a good group of girls this year and I’m really excited about the season.”