The Trojans softball team is ready to take the field for the 2014 season and will be in Needles, Calif. next week for a two-day tournament.
Last year the Trojans had a very successful year and finished in third place 6-4 in league and 15-17 overall.
They will hit the field with seven returning players with five of those seniors.
The five seniors are Audrey MacRae, Bryanna Soliwoda, Kristal Kaiwi, Melanie Lawdensky and Whitney Roderick.
Two other starters from last year are junior Madisson Hurley and junior Amanda Pryor.
The pitching will be led by Roderick who is a veteran hurler for the Trojans and has started for the last two years. Roderick said she was clocked this year throwing at 59 mph.
Sara Zinnecker graduated last year and left shortstop open and Mallory Cole the first baseman moved to Carson City.
This has left Trojans Coach Ely Armendariz to experiment with those two positions. Armendariz has an idea who he will play at short and first base, but will have a better idea after the Needles tourney on March 14.
The coach said he is worried about the hitting from the number four hitter on down.
“I don’t think we are consistent past the number four hitter,” Armendariz said.
Zinnecker also left a hole in the batting lineup. She was an excellent clutch-hitter and came up with those doubles or triples when the team needed them. Zinnecker was a .462 hitter. Although Armendariz said he is having problems with hitting, he feels Roderick will hit better and he knows he has power in Pryor. He believes Pryor will be able to get it over the fence.
Of the top seven hitters from last year, the team lost three. Besides Zinnecker, they lost Katelyn Button, the designated hitter who hit .400. She would have been a sophomore. The other player was Cole and she hit .364.
The team will have its number one hitter returning, leadoff hitter Soliwoda hit .657 and had an on base percentage well over 700. Armendariz said he expects Soliwoda to also increase her offensive threat by being even more aggressive on the bases.
A quiet talent with a lot of speed in the outfield and on base is senior Melanie Lawdensky. Lawdensky hit .500 last year and stole a lot of bases for the team. Another strong bat coming from the outfield will be Hurley who hit .423.
Although the team is scrambling for infielders, the team has an abundance of pitchers this year with Pryor, Lauren Koenig, Lahela Kaiwi, “Baby” Kaiwi and Devin Jones.
The girls are solid in the outfield with three returning players: Hurley, Lawdensky and Krystal Kaiwi.
Armendariz said he is also worried about just being able to field enough players. His main concern is having to cannibalize the JV late in the season for players. Both teams only have 12 players.
“Right now with the amount of kids that turned out, we will be fielding two teams barely. Some will be going back and forth. Last year the JV team was bigger than both teams now put together,” he said
The numbers concern him because with ineligibilities and injuries, the team could go down to 10 to 11 players and this means he can’t move up as many JV players as he would like.