Spring prep preview / Softball

The South Whidbey High School softball team is about to find out what life is like without standout Mackenzee Collins.

Collins, now a Division I pitcher at Colorado State University, was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the Cascade Conference and hit in the middle of the order for the Falcons.

She helped South Whidbey place 13th in the state last spring.

“Replacing someone like McKenzie Collins is a difficult proposition at best; however, we have two girls, sophomore Melody Wilkie, who was Collins’ backup last year and pitched some meaningful innings, and freshman Chanel Sterba, who has been playing select ball and looks strong,” first-year coach Brad Jaeger said.

Wilkie, a second-team, all-league infield selection in 2018, isn’t the only returnee for the Falcons.

Most of last spring’s starting lineup is back, led by senior letter winners Myah Majestic and Natalie Wilmoth.

Also returning are juniors Jordyn Kelley, Ari Marshall and Makenna Morley, and sophomore Shelby Campbell.

Marshall earned first-team, all-conference honors last spring.

Key newcomers, according to Jaeger, are juniors Arianna Briggs and Kayla Knauer and freshmen Taylor Fifield and Sterba.

Jaeger likes what he has seen so far.

The team’s defense and speed look good, he said, and the newcomers are willing to work hard to get up to speed.

“At the end of the year, if the girls have fun, it’s a successful season,” Jaeger said. “If they tell their friends and want to come back next year, it’s a good season. If each girl works on getting better and each one improves, then we have been successful.”

The Falcons (12-13 last year) open the season at Oak Harbor at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. The home opener is 4 p.m. Thursday, March 14, with Concrete.

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