Zylstra heads Coupeville softball team

 Members of the Coupeville High School softball team get their arms loosened up before the start of practice on a chilly day. - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Members of the Coupeville High School softball team get their arms loosened up before the start of practice on a chilly day.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

New head coach Denny Zlystra brings 45 years of experience to the Coupeville High School softball program.

A Coupeville native, Zylstra played softball during his 20 year Navy career and also for 17 additional years in a league in Everett.

“I coached softball for four years at Oak Harbor and for 17 years at Skagit Valley College,” he said.

The Wolves, who finished 1-16 in league games and 1-17 overall last season, need a strong teacher-type coach, and they appear to have found exactly what they are looking for.

Zlystra will be fielding a young team in his first season with only one senior, Mandi Murdy, on the roster.

However, Murdy is a catcher and a good one with three years of varsity experience.

Also returning is junior shortstop Megan Smith, who also does some pitching, along with juniors Julie Huddleston, Michelle Riddle and Emma Puharic.

Returning for her senior season is Silver Dahr, who didn’t play last year, and sophomore Rebecca Armstrong.

A lot of success in 2009 will depend on how some of the freshman players adapt to varsity competition, and the Wolves have a number of ninth-graders on the roster.

These new players include Taylor Sherman, Autumn Stevenson and Alexis Trumbull, who are all pitchers, along with Katie Smith.

“Taylor will also be playing first base, and Katie is a real good athlete,” Zylstra said. “We have a lot of talented players on this team who play more than one sport and that’s a good thing.”

Zylstra said the team is excited about the season and looking forward to playing.

“We have 14 to 16 players out for the team and that is a good number,” he said. “That way, we can play everybody.”

Coupeville opens the season at home Tuesday, March 17, playing Friday Harbor in a 4 p.m. non-league game.

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