The Coupeville High School softball team is ready to move from competitive to contender.
Two years ago, the Wolves managed to win only one game. Last spring Coupeville improved to 7-14 (6-12 in league) and lost a handful of close games.
Now the Wolves expect to challenge the Cascade Conference’s best teams.
Co-coaches David and Amy King said the growth, success and game experience gained last year is noticeable in their team’s attitude.
David King said, “The girls (came) out this year with a confidence level we didn’t start with last year. They know they can compete with the teams in our league.”
This new attitude is one of the team’s strengths, according to the Kings. Other positives are a strong pair of pitchers (McKayla Bailey and Maria Rockwell) and a balanced hitting attack led by Hailey Hammer and Madeline Roberts.
David King added, “We have a strong core group who have played softball for years, and a few girls who have played year-around for the past few years which will really help the strength of our team.
“We have a lot of speed…and from top to the bottom ...we really don’t have many weaknesses.”
Concerns, the Kings said, are the lack of pitching experience behind Bailey and Rockwell and the tendency of their defense to second guess itself.
At the end of last season, then coach Jackie Calkins said, “Remember, we are young, so very young.”
The Wolves are still young but not inexperienced.
Catcher Bessie Walstad is the only returning senior letter winner; however, pitcher/shortstop Rockwell returns to Coupeville after lettering as a freshman.
Other letter winners include juniors Roberts (in-field), Chevy Reyes (shortstop), Breeanna Messner (catcher/infield, Hailey Sherman (outfield) and Sydney Apparicio (second base); and sophomores Bailey (pitcher/outfield), Hammer (infield) and Madeline Strasburg (outfield).
Hammer was a second-team, all-league choice last spring, and Roberts and Bailey honorable mention.
The Kings said Lakewood, Coupeville’s first opponent, and Cedarcrest are the preseason favorites in a deep and talented league.
The Wolves go to Lakewood at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, for an early test. The first home game is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, with South Whidbey.