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One more title shot?
South Whidbey fastpitch players know how to keep the dream alive.
Having played in the state tournament four years in a row and placing as high as second in 2002, the Falcon girls have not modified their season goal one iota. It doesnt matter that they lost perhaps the states best second baseman and infielder, Bronwyn Russell, last spring, nor does it matter to them that they are playing against bigger 3A schools this season than they did as a 2A team during the past five. Nope, the aim is the same for 2005.
Win state, said senior first baseman Becky Gabelein as the South Whidbey girls practiced this week.
Thats always the goal, was the seemingly practiced, instantaneous response from several of her senior teammates.
Nearly unbeatable over the past three seasons with a 48-0 conference record, the teams goal does not seem out of line. But having come so close to being state champions in each of the past three years, there is an underlying feeling of caution when team coach Todd Lubach talks about season goals. Encouraged by a bigger-than-usual preseason turnout of 25 players and looking forward to a challenging set of five preseason games, Lubach knows the Falcons will be a top-caliber 3A team in 2005. In his fourth year with the team, the coach is not setting the goals ahead of the work that needs to be done to reach them. He is neither predicting a state championship this year, nor is he ruling it out. In a tougher division this season, he is content to help his girls go as far as they can.
I would love to make it back to state, he said.
In conference play, Lubach is expecting his team to get a real fight out of 3A Cedarcrest and 2A Archbishop Murphy. Beyond that, at the District 1 3A tournament level, Shorecrest and Anacortes both promise to bring 2004 3A state tournament pedigrees to any showdowns with the Falcons.
The engine behind the team will, for the fourth year in a row, be starting pitcher Christie Robinson. Unbeaten in the regular season and through the district tournament in 2004, she started last season with a streak of 18 games in which she gave up not a single run. Coach Lubach said he expects Robinson to start almost every game the Falcons play this season.
Shes definitely going to be the horse, he said.
Also back from last years state team to play this season are Carolann Lubach, Kelsey Broderick, Carrie Anderson, Becky Gabelein, Danielle Burton, Amy Madrigali, Jenna Dunsmore, Teah Wanamaker and Michelle Burton.
The Falcons start their quest for state on March 21 when they go on the road to play 3A Monroe.