Wolverines’ girls’ fastpitch team will be a batting force

The team this year is 26 players strong with a mix of new and returning players, according to Coach Michelle Stringer.

“We have a good balance, I didn’t want to make cuts [during the tryouts] because if I were to cut the freshmen, even though there is no guarantee they are not going to be the best payers, but I want them to be a part of the program and continue to develop their skills,” Stringer said. This year they will be working on a different offensive strategy, “My goal is to be absolutely unstoppable when we are up to bat. I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve,” She smiled.

Senior Bella Ross echoed those sentiments when asked what her goal for the season was, saying “I really want our batting average to be pretty high. I think we have a lot of good hitters and we can do that.”

Ross has been playing softball since she was in elementary school, along with fellow seniors Ella Raichlen, Nakayla Nibler and Sheya Welty.

Raichlen and Nibler also stressed the importance of communication on the field. “With softball, you have to communicate on the field and work as a team. So I think that’s something we can work on this year, as to how we all work together,” Raichlen said.

Nibler added that as they work together, the team forms strong bonds. One of the things she has loved about the sport is the friendships she has formed over the years. The four seniors have essentially been playing together for their entire school career, it’s easy to see how strong bonds would form between them, and all the girls on the team.

There is excitement about the new year from both the coaches and players. “I think our pitcher-catcher combo of Natalie Morris and Bella Ross is going to be pretty amazing,” Stringer said. “They did a great job last year. Natalie was our MBP as a junior, so I can only imagine what we are going to be able to accomplish with her this year. And Bella hs just been a steady force behind the plate. I look forward to her being able to hone her skills even more. Our goal for her is she doesn’t have anyone steal on her. I think that is a pretty realistic goal.”

Raichlen is also looking forward to the season, saying “We did so well last year, we were district champions. I want to continue to become league champions.”

They all agreed the teams to beat are Orcas and Coupeville. “We will beat Coupville again. They were teh team that we beat to become the camps of our league, so we are going to do that again,” Nibler said.

Regardless of how the season turns out, it will be exciting to watch these girls play.

“I think our team is going to be really strong this year. I’m excited to see how far we can get. I think it’s going to be really fun!” Ross said.

Their first game will be March 9 at South Whidbey, and their first home game takes place March 22 at. 3 p.m. on the Linde Fields.