White River’s Konner Brockelman is returning to the Hornet team one last time before he graduates. Photo by Kevin Hanson

White River’s Konner Brockelman is returning to the Hornet team one last time before he graduates. Photo by Kevin Hanson

Talent returns to White River baseball, softball

Watch out for the spring version of the Battle of the Bridge this Friday, March 13.

With the dawn of a new sports season, White River High athletes have transitioned from winter to spring.

Turnouts began Monday, March 2, and competition gets rolling this weekend.

Here’s a look at the White River baseball and softball teams. The rest of the spring programs will be featured next week.

WHITE RIVER BASEBALL

Perhaps with revenge in mind, the Hornets kick off the spring season Friday, March 13, with a trip to neighboring Enumclaw. The diamond version of the Battle of the Bridge went entirely Enumclaw’s way a season ago and White River will be looking to reverse that outcome when the teams square off at 7 p.m.

Fourth-year coach Nate Barnett and his crew are coming off a successful 2019 season. A season ago, the Hornets went 14-4 during the regular season, won two of three games in the league tournament and then took three of four during district play. That sent the team to the 16-team state tournament, which ended with an opening-round loss.

The program was hit hard by the graduation of all-league honorees Brock Keller, Jacob Selander, Karsten Dietz and Joe Flanigan.

But, despite those departures, Barnett makes one thing very clear – he has lofty expectations for this year’s squad.

“We have a veteran group who have played together for quite some time,” he explained. “The addition of a handful of young talent will keep our veteran players on their toes.”

So, how far does Barnett think this year’s group can go? “We should move through districts this year and onto the state tournament.”

The Hornets’ anticipated success is largely due to a returning cast of proven talent. Keying those varsity veterans are Braeden McNally, Robbie Vandegrift, Hunter Smith, Matthew Trudgeon, Konner Brockelman, Mason Persons, Shawn Mijares and Tyson Campbell.

Newcomers catching the coach’s eye include freshmen Ty Rogers and Ty Jacobs.

Following last season, Brockleman was voted all-league first-team catcher, McNally was a first-team infielder, Vandegrift was a second-team infielder and Person was a second-team selection as a utility player.

WHITE RIVER SOFTBALL

Success has become a spring tradition within the Hornet softball program, which has qualified for the Class 2A state tournament every season since 2011.

Now, veteran coach Brandon Walker and his squad will be looking to make it 10 in a row.

Walker has a good start, with a swarm of Hornets who have all-league honors on their individual resumés.

Around the infield, the Hornets boast senior Marissa Dolson, a second-team a year ago; patrolling the outfield are junior Liberty Tucker, a second-team pick, and senior Sammy Peltram, honorable mention; also returning is senior catcher Solina Still, second-team all-league; and sophomore Megan Klapperich, who garnered second-team honors as a utility player following her freshman campaign. Rounding out the list of honored returnees is senior Marissa Bartels, an honorable mention all-leaguer last year and the Hornets’ top pitcher.

The squad wasn’t hit by graduation as hard as some, although Walker did have to say goodbye to a pair of top players, outfielder Noelle Mills and infielder Payton Walden.

“I’m very excited for this season,” Walker said. “With some tough competition in our league, we still expect to compete for the league championship.”

Taking those lofty expectations up a notch, Walker stated, “we expect to make another run at the state tournament.”

The 2020 Hornets will take the field for the first time Monday, March 16, hitting the road for a non league game against Gig Harbor. The first pitch is slated for 4:45 p.m.


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White River’s Marissa Dolson slides into home during a victory last spring over the Orting Cardinals. The infielder has returned for her senior season. Photo by Kevin Hanson

White River’s Marissa Dolson slides into home during a victory last spring over the Orting Cardinals. The infielder has returned for her senior season. Photo by Kevin Hanson

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