Kamiak aiming for 3rd straight playoff appearance | SoftballKnights bring back almost entire squad
After back-to-back district playoff appearances, the Kamiak softball team heads into the 2017 season with high expectations.
The Knights return all but two players from last year’s squad that finished sixth in the Wesco 4A and went 1-2 in the District 1 tournament.
Kamiak coach Ann Bradley likes that there are no surprises this season.
“I think having the girls together for two years and gelling together will be nice,” she said. “There’s nobody new trying to figure out what their role is.”
Senior co-captain Haley Hoglund said that the players are familar with each other.
“We all know how to work with each other,” she said. “Our communication will be better this year. … We expect to do good.”
Junior Cecilia Robbins and sophomore Jackie Rookaird handled the pitching duties last season and Bradley expects Robbins to do the majority of pitching in 2017. The graduation of center fielder Sarah Rhodes left a key position open and Rookaird is penciled in as the new starter there.
“I really want to focus with her in the center field position with Sarah gone,” Bradley said. “Jackie has got the speed and she’s got the ball sense. She will do well out there.”
Bradley added that senior co-captain Maddie Hanses likely will be shifting from third base to second, taking over from the other senior who graduated, Hanna Bevan. It’ll be the first time Hanses has played second base.
“I’m excited to learn it,” Hanses said.
Senior Deanna Lane will be playing shortstop and sophomore Ella Dahl and senior Kari Johanson are the catchers. Dahl also plays in the outfield.
Kamiak wasn’t able to field a junior varsity team last year due to low numbers, but this year the Knights are fielding a JV squad that numbers 15. The goal, Bradley said, is to eventually have two of those players swing up to varsity, which currently has a roster of 12.
“We have a small team, but we’re going to be strong this year because we’re used to each other,” Hanses said. “You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. So you know where players work the best.”
Last season’s three freshmen – Rookaird, Dahl and outfielder Heidi Baird – come into the season with a year’s varsity experience.
They know what to expect, Bradley said.
Most of the players worked with the school’s trainer in the offseason and come in stronger, Bradley said.
“I see a lot more strength in them, in their arms and in their hitting,” she said.
The wet weather has caused havoc with the Knights’ practices with the field not being in ideal condition.
“Right now we’re just focusing on getting out on the field,” Hanses said. “We haven’t played together in a while.”
After going 0-2 at districts two years ago, the Knights beat Mount Vernon in the playoffs last season.
“Getting that first win was nice and it was good for the girls because it build their confidence that we are capable of playing with the bigger teams,” Bradley said. “Wesco is a tough division … It’s a hard group to go against.”
Snohomish, last year’s Wesco 4A champion, won the state title. The Panthers moved down to 3A this year but Glacier Peak, a 3A state playoff team, moves up to 4A.
“It was really cool for us to get (sixth) in Wesco and hopefully, we can do that again or even improve,” junior co-captain Cameron Weaver said.