Sunday, July 23, 2017 This Week's Paper


// Some teams seek improvement, some eyeing post-season


With the 2013 4A State Tournament still a fresh memory, look for the Lady Lions to make a serious run at a return trip this year.

Coach Craig Coovert saw five players graduate last year, but still returns probably the most experienced and talented squad in Tacoma this season. Bellarmine is led by all-everything senior Courtney Schwan, a first-team all-Narrows selection and former league MVP. Junior Becca Sorensen was a first-team selection and plays possibly the best second base in the Narrows.

Sophomore first-teamer Alyssa McKiernan looks to improve upon her surprising breakout freshman season. Look for a big season from Celine Woo after a hot streak at the plate to end last season. Newcomers Charlotte James and McKenzie Schwan will be counted on to play like veterans if the Lady Lions are to repeat their dominance again.


Coach Ron Balmer and the Lady Rams have their work cut out for them this season. After making a run into the District Playoffs last season, several top players have graduated. To make matters more difficult, this season’s turnout was lower than hoped for at Wilson. Still, Balmer’s squad returns 3-time All-Narrows senior shortstop Darian Grimm to the diamond along with talented junior second base Adriana Lanz. The team could see a significant boost if senior pitcher Stephanie Granger is cleared to play by the WIAA soon. Look for freshmen Kately Kass and Kayla Washington to step-up this season.


New coach Gabrielle Knittel brings a brand new coaching staff and a fresh attitude to the Lincoln squad this year. The Lady Abes suffered through a rough 2013 season with just two wins and are looking to reverse the losing trend. Lincoln returns several talented players including seniors Victoria Nuon, Heidi Leeper, Maryelle Montez, Yoselin Maldonado and juniors Viane Tran and Kayla “Salt” Aronhalt. Keep an eye out for junior Deona Owens and some surprising freshmen. “We are a strong-minded team that is focused on improving with every game,” said Knittel. “We pride ourselves on discipline, integrity and by having a winning team attitude.”


Coach Dottie Harris has dropped the “Interim” from her title last year and has assembled a new coaching staff to go along with a very young team. Following a difficult 2-win 2013, Harris hopes her core returning players will be able to help get the new players up to speed and ready to start winning ballgames. Expect strong seasons from juniors Zanna Holt, Nancy LaPointe-McCloud and Karen Davila. Seniors Jea’Ohnna Lee and Makayla Matson have turned out for the team for their first time. Harris is looking for strong seasons from sophomores Elizabeth Box and Brandy Bullplume.


Another new coach dropping the “Interim” from last year is Stadium’s Bridgette Walker who took over the squad near the end of the season in 2013. Stadium had a great turnout this spring and has a talented group of players returning looking to improve on the Lady Tigers’ two victories of last year. Walker will lean on veteran infielders Patricia Hultman and Isabel Chapman to shore up the defense and experienced pitchers Kylie Lensegrav and Sydney Rogers to keep opposition batters off the bases. Sophomores Allyssa Young and Brianna Lamb are solid starters and look for freshmen Emery Norwood and Rika Linman to make an immediate impact.


Coach Carlena Stroud looks to make some moves in the 3A Narrows standings this year. With seven returning players from last year the Lady Falcons have their sights set on topping the squad’s five victories of 2013. First-team all-Narrows sophomore infielder Michaela Phillips returns, as well as key senior leaders Kylie Thornton and Naomi King.


Coach Amy Hunter fields a team packed with sophomores and freshman and even two 8th graders. The sole returning senior is veteran catcher Becca Cerka and her .447 batting average from 2013. Sophomore pitcher Jen Brooks is a force from upon the mound and behind the plate (.646 BA). Keep an eye out for Isabella Thomas at third base. The 8th grader has some talent.


Fife returns eight seniors from the 2013 SPSL 2A champion squad that went 21-5 and made it to the quarterfinals of the State 2A Tournament. Coach Michelle Nixon is expecting an even better outcome this year. Senior shortstop Angela Leingang returns following her SPSL MVP season along with six other teammates who were selected either first or second-team all-league.

“This is my third season with Fife fastpitch and these seniors started this journey with me,” said Nixon. “So I have a bit of an emotional tie with them. They are all wonderful girls and great leaders on and off the field.” One key position Nixon must fill is the departure of Mackenzie Bourbanis who is now playing at Portland State.