Sports

New coach for Wildcat softball

Veteran pitcher Kayla Ratliff is back on the mound for her senior season. - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Veteran pitcher Kayla Ratliff is back on the mound for her senior season.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

Veteran softball coach Jessica Weilke takes over the program at Oak Harbor High School, becoming the fourth head coach in as many seasons.

Weilke, who has eight years experience, has coached at Wheat Ridge, Cherry Creek and Denver East high schools in Colorado and also in Guam, will have her work cut out for her in her first season at the helm in Oak Harbor.

The Wildcats have struggled on the softball diamond in the last few years, winning just five games in the past four seasons.

Weilke said one of her major goals this season is working on developing a winning attitude among members of the team.

“Team unity was not as it should have been last year and the girls are learning to play together, get rid of the individualistic attitudes and play as a team,” she said.

With 26 players out for the team including a number of returnees, Oak Harbor has a good chance of getting back on the winning track in 2009 and returning to respectability in the WesCo League.

Returning seniors include Kayla Ratliff, Kim Mowbray and Kaylee Meders.

Ratliff is a pitcher, Meders plays on the infield and Mowbray is the type of player you can hand a glove to, point to a spot on the field and she will get the job done.

Juniors returning to the roster are Emily Meagher, Nicole Mowbray, Whitney Osborne, Aria Araceley and Kasey Roberts.

Right now Mowbray, the starting catcher and honorable mention all-league player in 2008, will not be behind the plate for a few weeks due to an injury sustained during the basketball season, and Aarceley is temporarily sidelined with a back injury.

Sophomore pitcher Bailey Martinez, who saw limited varsity action last season, is also among the returning players.

New to the team in 2009 is senior Tanya Hosler, junior Ashlee Biek and sophomore Lindsey Vessels.

“Ashlee has a lot of speed and Lindsey is a very athletic player,” Weilke said. “All the girls are working hard and have great attitudes.”

Freshman who have a good chance of making the varsity roster this season are Brittany Johnson and Marissa Fakkema.

Oak Harbor opens play Monday, March 16, hosting Burlington-Edison in a non-league game scheduled for 4 p.m. at Hillcrest Elementary School.

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