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SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: Fastpitch ready for a bigger hit
Todd Lubach is not only expecting the girls on the Falcon fastpitch team to battle for varsity spots this season, he's counting on it.
Rife with talent from various traveling teams and boosted by a winning record in 2001, South Whidbey's fastpitch squad has more varsity-level players on its roster than it has spots in the dugout.
"That's one of the reasons this team is so strong," Lubach said this week.
Starting his first year as the team's head coach, Lubach takes over for Renee Christian. Christian led the Falcons to their first winning record and first trip to the state tournament last year.
A veteran coach who has trained almost every one of the current Falcon team members on traveling teams like the Northwest Force, Island Intensity and Triple Threat, Lubach said he believes the team has what it takes to be one of the best in the state. With starting players who, for the most part, have two to five years of summer softball experience in addition to their high school play, he said the Falcons have put their time in.
"We have a team full of girls that have a whole lot of experience," she said.
That experience will be most important on the pitchers mound, where senior Ashley Lopez and underclassmen Lucy Dauman, Carolann Lubach and Christie Robinson will do their best to limit the damage other teams can do. Lubach said pitching is key. If injuries don't deplete his crew, the Falcons could be one of the best teams in the North Cascades Conference.
Holding up the Nooksack Valley, Mount Baker and Lynden Christian teams as the Falcons' toughest competition, Lubach said it is the team's goal to make it back to the state meet this season. In 2001, the girls went 1-1 at state before exiting the tournament.
Other potential standouts on the team this year include Carrie Anderson and Bronwyn Russell, both of whom were top hitters and base stealers in the NCC last year. Providing leadership on the team is senior Keesha Campbell, who Lubach holds up as one of his personal inspirations as a coach.
Campbell said she and her teammates will be so good this year that they will terrify their opponents.
"I think we are going to be intimidating," she said.
Let the intimidation begin. The Falcons open their season with a home game against Sequim on March 16.