Tate Thomson/Staff photo
                                Players warm up during softball tryouts. Follow the Journal to see the 2020 team photo.

Tate Thomson/Staff photo Players warm up during softball tryouts. Follow the Journal to see the 2020 team photo.

Wolverine Fastpitch ready to play ball

*ALL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS GAMES HAVE BEEN CANCELED*

The Wolverine ladies fastpitch team is gearing up for the 2020 spring season. Many of last season’s star players are batting up once more.

“It seems like we have a younger team this year who might fill in some gaps in our batting line up, but defensively we should have mostly returning players,” coach Kirk Holt said.

Holt and Brian Lambright have been coaching softball for Friday Harbor High School for seven years.

“I am a glutton for punishment,” Holt said with a laugh when asked what keeps bringing him back to coach.

“I love to see how the girls process situations, think about things. Interacting with them on the ferry, or bus rides, seeing how excited they get or crazy they get over a boy, how they interact with each other,” Holt explained. “Believe it or not I laugh a lot around them, until game time. Then my angry eyebrows come out.”

He added that all the coaches have a great time around them, and all want to continue a program for success and excellence based on hard work, determination and building up the player to be a model for success.

To get there, Holt said, the skill focus is always the same: hit the ball hard and run the bases fast and smart.

Some of the returning Wolverines include seniors Liz Cruz, Baylee Lambright, Soma Andrews, as well as juniors Raylee Miniken and Bristol Halverson.

Miniken is the team’s up-and-coming pitcher and Holt expects to see some fantastic performances from her.

“We saw some flashes of overpowering performances last year. She has matured a lot and has the potential to be a dominating pitcher,” Holt said.

Halverson has excelled in the shortstop position, according to Holt.

“Bristol is our tough and dirty shortstop who has no issue with diving for a ball and sacrificing herself for the team. She has a great head for the game of softball,” Holt said.

Andrews as second base had a great season last year, he added, hitting the ball solidly.

“She should continue that trend this season. She is a well-balanced student-athlete who excels at her artwork as well,” Holt added.

Lambright serves as the Wolverine’s cornerstone in the batting lineup, according to Holt. Last season she played with an injured shoulder.

“Baylee is a tough competitor, and should be an offensive force of power for us this year,” Holt said.

Cruz plays outfield, and Holt noted that he also expects to see some amazing offensive plays with her hitting abilities this year.

As with all things in life, there will be challenges. Holt explained that teenagers today often don’t realize what they are capable of when faced with adversity. Those difficulties can range from exhaustion, a mental breakdown, or just being disappointed with themselves. One of the biggest challenges for coaches, Holt continued, is getting the student-athletes to break through those obstacles and fears and push forward.

“So often in life, we need to reach deep inside ourselves and push harder to get through those challenges. The end result is always more rewarding when we have to struggle a bit,” Holt said.