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Spring prep preview: Oak Harbor softball
For the first time since 1998, the Oak Harbor High School softball team qualified for postseason in 2013. Now its up to a new coach and new talent to meet that goal this spring.
Gone are coach Jess Boswell and seven graduates, including four first-team, all-league players.
Last year's varsity assistant Todd Showalter takes over this year, and he will build his team around three returning starters and five letter winners.
Senior second baseman Natalie Fiallos, a first-team, all-Wesco pick in 2013, will anchor the young team. Also back are starters Alexa Findley (catcher/shortstop) and Kelly Findley (third base/outfield), both sophomores.
Sophomore pitchers Katherine Martinez and Tricia Sarns also return.
Showalter said the list of key newcomers is too numerous to mention, adding, "We are excited by the talent of some students new to OHHS. We also have several returning underclassmen who have improved significantly from this time last year."
He added that many of the newer players have more experience than new players in the past.
Depth of the batting order is a strength, Showalter said. With two pitchers returning and Alexa Findley catching, the battery should also be a strong point.
Inexperience at the varsity level and an all new outfield are concerns, according to Showalter.
Even though his team is young, it should "contend for a playoff spot," he said.
To make that happen, Oak Harbor will need "to play fundamental softball and make the other team beat us with good plays, not give them anything," he said.
"If we can get the entire roster to contribute to the offense we can score some runs with our speed," Showalter added. "Last year we tended to win 4-3, and this year we may have to win 8-7."
Showalter said the program is getting a boost from varsity assistant Jessica Kallander, a former college player, and junior varsity coach Suzie Branam, a veteran youth coach.
Oak Harbor hosts Mount Vernon at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 18.