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Turnover hits softball team | FALCON SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW

Falcon fastpitch players cheer on a teammate during a base running drill.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon fastpitch players cheer on a teammate during a base running drill.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

At least the look of the Falcon girls fastpitch team will be different this season.

South Whidbey softball has a new coach and lost a few players who elected to not play. All of the changes have the softball squad’s season up in the air. The Falcons could fall like last year when the team finished 3-15 in the Cascade Conference, or they could find some fresh footing to build upon.

New head coach Tim Collins said he hopes for the latter, and plans to craft a culture of hard work and fun.

“We need to get back that love for the game, because we don’t have it right now,” he said.

During one practice, the group of a dozen or so girls lined up behind home plate for a base-running drill. They smiled, they cheered, they laughed; a few even danced a bit as they waited their turn to sprint out of the batter’s box.

Team bonding has become a point of emphasis. Senior Chantel Brown said the team was going to make team T-shirts at her house over the weekend, a way to informally gather the girls and do something softball-related, but less strenuous than practice.

Long-range plans envisioned by Collins, the seniors and the school’s athletic department are to cultivate a culture of softball on South Whidbey. Get a team that has some success with girls that have fun, then parade that around town at the younger grades and at the lower levels of the sport like Little League and the parks and recreation teams.

“It won’t be perfect this year, but hopefully we can add a little more each year and get rolling,” Collins said.

Early in the season, Collins worked to reduce the errors made by the players, some of whom had not played fastpitch prior to trying out for the Falcons. Brown said the team’s strength thus far was its returning infield of Anne Madsen, Chloe Huffman, Haley Viers, and Sarah Merrow. Brown said she would likely rotate positions, though she looked forward to playing center field and anticipated athletic catches and strong throws to home plate.

Highlights from the schedule, in Brown’s opinion, are the Coupeville games for the rivalry, as well as games against Lakewood and Archbishop Murphy because some of the teammates from the club team she plays for are at those schools.

 

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