With 10 of 13 varsity letter winners returning this spring, the Oak Harbor High School softball team expects to jump up a few rungs on the Wesco 3A ladder.
In that group are seven seniors, including Shawna Steele (catcher/utility), a three-year starter and two-time Wesco honorable mention choice; team captain Morgan Young (outfield), also honorable mention in 2012; and Emily Saar, a two-year starting pitcher.
Other letter winners are seniors McKenzie DeMarsh (outfield), Kelsey Rankin (infield), Hannah Salmons (utility) and Riley Thompson (utility); juniors Natalie Fiallos (infield) and Yzabella Sampson (outfield); and sophomore Nicole Vogt (utility).
Coach Jess Weikle said several freshmen will solidify the varsity: twin sisters Alexa (catcher) and Kelly Finley (utility), transfers from San Diego, and pitchers Patricia Sarns and Kat Martinez.
Weikle said, “Both (Finley) sisters have played travel ball for the past few years and will be a great asset for the program, passing their knowledge of competitive softball to our young players.”
The team’s strengths, Weikle said, are its familiarity and attitude.
“We have seven seniors who have all played for four years,” she said. “Their interpersonal knowledge of each other and the team’s expectations is allowing for a smooth transition.
“Many…have been playing softball together since they were Little League athletes. Our volunteer coaches, Robert Young and Bob Zimmerman, have been with these girls since the beginning. We are all looking forward for these girls to end their high school softball experience on a high note.”
She added, “Overall, all girls who have tried out have immensely positive attitudes, and their coachability shows their willingness to learn.”
Concerning goals, Weikle said, “As always, we are looking forward to improving in all areas, especially in our consistency in the field, and competitively working for a playoff spot.”
Oak Harbor, 5-15 in 2012, starts at the Marysville Jamboree at 10 a.m. today. The Wildcats go to Mount Vernon Tuesday, March 12, and then host Snohomish at 4 p.m. Friday, March 15.