Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor softball plans to embrace small-ball approach, utilize senior ace Adams

Gig Harbor junior shortstop Lauren Forseth brings a big bat to the Tides’ lineup.
Gig Harbor junior shortstop Lauren Forseth brings a big bat to the Tides’ lineup.

Gig Harbor’s Jordan Adams was dominant on the mound as a junior for the Tides last season, to say the least.

Over 114 innings, she posted an 11-4 record with 193 strikeouts and a 1.50 earned run average. She also boasted a .349 batting average en route to being named to the Class 4A Narrows League’s Most Valuable Player.

She couldn’t possibly top that in her senior season, could she?

Not so fast.

“I definitely can do better,” Adams said. “You can always do better.”

That sort of optimism is standard for Adams, a Northwest Nazarene University softball commit. She is after all, confident in her ability.

“Really right now, she’s preparing for college,” fourth-year head coach Kara Dressel said of her senior ace. “I want to see her just mow through teams. I think she can do it. I’m not sure what we’re going to see in the conference. I think she should have even better numbers (than last year).”

On paper, the drop to a new classification in 3A, and a new league, in the South Sound Conference, seems to make improvement a possibility within reason.

Adams has been working hard to become an even more dominant version of herself.

“The biggest thing for me is getting a first-pitch strike,” Adams said. “Getting ahead of the batter is key. I know when I’m up to bat and I get a first-pitch strike, I can get a little rattled. So as a pitcher, I just try to get that first-pitch strike and then second, obviously. And then strike them out with a crazy pitch. The biggest thing is getting the first-pitch strike and just hitting my locations as well as I possibly can.”

Gig Harbor’s stiffest competition in the new league, at this point, appears to be Yelm, which won the Narrows 4A last season and has accompanied Gig Harbor in the move to Class 3A.

“Yelm will always be our toughest competition,” Dressel said. “They still have their two starters. I expect the girls to win conference. I expect that every year. They know that we expect them to win conference, districts, state. If we have those goals, they try to rise to the occasion.”

Gig Harbor won its first state tournament game under Dressel last season with an 11-3 beatdown of Central Valley. But facing a familiar foe — Yelm — in the next round, and the Tides suffered a 9-5 defeat. Gig Harbor finished the season with a 1-3 record against Yelm, something it will hope to have better luck with this time around.

“They’re tough, scrappy and well-coached,” Dressel said. “They’re the team to beat for us. That’s our goal this year, to beat Yelm.”

Gig Harbor loses a few key seniors from last season, but a good part of the core remains intact.

“I don’t think (losing the seniors) will affect us at all,” Adams said. “We’re so close. We all bond. We’re like sisters. Losing those seniors won’t affect us because we all know how to work together.”

Hoping to fill some of the lineup production lost will be junior shortstop Lauren Forseth, in addition to Adams.

“Forseth has kind of gone under the radar,” Dressel said. “She’s a great hitter. I’m hoping she can really step up for us this season. Obviously, Adams is a big bat for us as well.”

Small-ball — utilizing bunting and team speed with base stealing and sending runners in motion — is a particularly effective technique for softball at the high school level. Dressel hinted fans might see a little more of that from the Tides this season.

“We lost some of our bigger bats, but we have a lot of speed in our lineup this year,” Dressel said. “I think we might change from a big ball team to probably some small team, to try to manufacture some more runs as well.”

Gig Harbor hosts Bonney Lake in a non-league matchup on Thursday (March 16) at 4 p.m. The Tides open up league play on the road against Timberline on Monday (March 20) at 4 p.m. at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex.