High school softball primer
TEAM TO WATCH
Puyallup was 28-0 last season before suffering its first loss, 1-0, to eventual 4A state champion Snohomish in the state semifinals. Despite losing two-time league MVP Emily Ensrud to graduation, coach Tony Batinovich, the 25th year coach who also coaches Puyallup’s volleyball team, has plenty of pieces to work with including reigning league pitcher of the year Kennedy Robillard, league RBI leader Sophia Bjerk — a junior committed to San Diego — and leadoff hitter /Northwest Nazarene signee Natalie Joyner.
1. New-look Tahoma: The Bears won the 4A state title two years ago and returned to state last year despite losing standout pitcher Carley Nance to a season-ending injury. She’s now at Seattle U, coach Tom Milligan resigned, leadoff hitter Mia Corbin went to Cal and league MVP Delaney Nelson graduated, too. But first-team all-league catcher Kinzi Sanders and second-team outfielder Kaylee Hazelwood under first-year coach Christina Millan, who played at Auburn High before heading to Wichita State.
2. Wide open Olympic: Which team from the 4A NPSL Olympic steps up? Enumclaw moved from the 3A SPSL and has won four consecutive league titles. But how does that change without two-time TNT All-Area player of the year Quinn Breidenbach? Federal Way lost Stanford signee Tally Thomas to a season-ending wrestling injury. Beamer is reloading. Maybe Auburn Mountainview makes a run behind reigning 3A SPSL all-league selections Adrianna Lomeli-Smith, Zoe Collins and Lily Hope.
3. Bonney Lake bounces back: Is this Bonney Lake’s year? Brooke Nelson caught almost everyone by surprise last season when she earned 3A SPSL player of the year as a freshman, batting .696 with five homers and pitched with a 0.72 ERA in 107 innings with 169 strikeouts. Now the UW commit is in the 3A Pierce County League, and there’s no surprising anybody.
4A NPSL Cascade – Tahoma; 4A NPSL Olympic – Enumclaw; 4A SPSL – Puyallup; 3A Pierce County League – Bonney Lake; 3A South Sound Conference – Yelm; 2A Evergreen – W.F. West; 2A SPSL Mountain – White River; 2A SPSL Sound – Orting.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
P Jordan Adams, Gig Harbor, sr. — Reigning 4A Narrows MVP struck out 171 batters in 99 1/3 innings last year, and at the plate hit seven HRs.
P Madelyn Carlson, Enumclaw, sr. — Carlson has never lost a start, posting an 18-0 record in the circle. She’s the ace pitcher since two-time TNT All-Area POY Quinn Breidenbach graduated.
OF Ally Choate, Yelm, sr. — Led Tornados to school’s third state appearance last year. The speedy outfielder batted .566 with 20 RBIs and had an OPS of 1.352.
P Brooke Nelson, Bonney Lake, so. — Reigning 3A SPSL player of the year batted .696 with 5 HRs at the plate and had a 0.77 ERA in the circle as a freshman. UW commit. Test her at your own risk.
P/INF Kennedy Robillard, Puyallup, sr. — Didn’t lose a game last year, going 12-0 with a 1.93 ERA in helping lead Puyallup to 4A state semifinals. 4A SPSL South pitcher of the year also batted .462.
BEST OF THE REST
4A NPSL Cascade – INF Kiana Kingsley, Kentlake, sr.; P/3B Allyson Overall, Kentlake, jr.; C/INF Rhilmina Sagapolutele, Kentwood, jr.; OF Kaylee Hazelwood, Tahoma, jr.; C Kinzi Sanders, Tahoma, sr.
4A NPSL Olympic – P/OF Zoe Collins, Auburn Mountainview, sr.; SS Brooke Dye, Auburn Riverside, so.; P/INF Autumn Lee, Auburn Riverside, so.; SS Sydney Victor, Decatur, jr.; C Brittany Camp, Enumclaw, sr.; Cortney Hunt, Enumclaw, jr; C/INF Hannah Togia, Federal Way, so.; P/3B/SS Leanne Bryant, Thomas Jefferson, jr.; SS/OF Raelyn Gradel, Todd Beamer, sr.; P Alex Haven, Todd Beamer, sr.
4A SPSL – OF/P Meg Sullivan, Bellarmine Prep, sr.; P Jaedyn Shaughnessy, Curtis, sr.; INF Kasey Woodruff, Curtis, jr.; INF Morgan Britton, Graham-Kapowsin, jr.; C Maddy Besaw, Puyallup, sr.; 1B/3B Sophia Bjerk, Puyallup, jr.; INF Natalie Joyner, Puyallup, sr.; INF Tayler Dawes, Rogers, sr.; INF Lauren Hatch, Rogers, jr.; SS/OF Sophia Canton, South Kitsap, sr.; OF/3B Angel Prewitt, South Kitsap, sr.
3A Pierce County League – OF Madi Pierce, Bethel, sr.; OF Eleseana Quintanar, Bonney Lake, sr.; MI Judy Soliai, Lincoln, jr.; OF Emery Norwood, Stadium, sr.; 1B/3B Kiana Turner, Wilson, sr.
3A South Sound Conference – UTIL Peyton Uznanski, Capital, jr.; MI Marissa Adams, Central Kitsap, sr.; 3B/SS Baily Paul, Peninsula, jr.; P/OF Natalie Albaugh, Shelton, so.; P Brooklyn Taylor-Sparks, Timberline, sr.; C Taylor Gubser, Yelm, so.; P Drea Schwaier, Yelm, jr.
2A Evergreen – Kassi Ward, Black Hills, sr.; Kindra Davis, W.F. West, jr.; INF Olivia Dean, W.F. West, jr.; INF Kyndra Haller, W.F. West, sr.; Lexi Strasser, W.F. West, sr.; Ashlee Vadala, W.F. West, jr.
2A SPSL Mountain – P/3B Maggie Crist, Fife, sr.; SS Kaitlynn Gain, Fife, sr.; OF Robyn Fietz, Fife, jr.; MI Kathy Le, Foss, jr.; INF Makiya Thomas, Washington, sr.; C Ashley Long, White River, sr.; SS Megan Vandegrift, White River, jr.
2A SPSL Sound – P/SS Jadeen Rivera, Clover Park, sr.;OF/SS Kylie Koszykowski, Eatonville, jr.; P McKenzie Behnke, Orting, sr.; 1B Morgan Hand, Orting, sr.; C Grace Goetsch, River Ridge, so.; C/P Kaitlyn Flugga, Steilacoom, jr.
TJ Cotterill: email@example.com