If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Sumner High fastpitch squad wouldn’t have any luck at all, as it is having a rough go of it personnel-wise early this season.
One of the Spartans’ promising and swift young players transfered to Auburn Riverside, starting shortstop Heather Greenwood broke her heel and will not be returning for at least a month and, finally, one of last year’s pitchers, Sidney Erickson, elected not to try out for the team this time around.
“It is a good thing that the girls on this team are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Trust me there is a brand new attitude on the team this season,” third-year coach Kim Fergus said.
The Spartans got a taste of what it is like to play in the postseason in 2008 and some of that momentum has carried over.
“They are hungry to go further in 2009,” Fergus said. “They missed going to the state tournament by two games last season and this year they want to get back there more than anything.”
While Fergus believes the team’s great attitude is its strong suit, she claims the next best quality is their experienced outfield.
Heading up this outfield is senior center fielder Rory Zambard, who hit at a torrid pace last year, blasting homers and belting triples in addition to displaying a good glove. On either side of her are senior right fielder Abbey Simmons and junior left fielder Katie Hester, both bringing a lot of experience and hitting prowess to the table.
Sumner also boasts what has to be one of the best starting batteries in the league with senior right-handed windmiller Katie Littlefield returning to the slab and sophomore Dannie Babcock catching. As a freshman last year, runners were ill-advised to try to swipe a base on Babcock, lest they be gunned down.
A much-needed lively arm on the SHS fastpitch scene this season belongs to freshman Megan Anderson, who has been turning heads in practice and will be acting in a relief role for Littlefield.
Fergus said there is strong infield leadership in juniors Mandy Humphries and Krista Beers at third base and shortstop, respectively.
The Spartans have a good fit at first base in senior Sadie Baines.
The season commences at 4 p.m. Friday when Graham-Kapowsin visits the Spartan diamond.