Mariner hopes returning talent, hard work lead to more wins | Softball

Marauders optimstic after 1st league win in more than 8 years
By David Pan | Mar 17, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Mariner senior co-captain Sareena Johnson works on her hitting, while senior co-captain and twin sister Sateeva Johnson watches, during practice at Mariner High School.

Mariner’s 6-3 victory over Cascade in last year’s final regular season game was a major accomplishment for the softball team.

The win was the first over a league opponent in more than eight years.

With seven returning players, the Marauders are looking for more success on the diamond.

“We are excited and optimistic to get more wins this season,” Mariner coach Kris Gonzalez said. “I’ve seen our club grow in overall confidence.”

Senior co-captains Sareena and Sateva Johnson, twin sisters who are entering their fourth year in the program, see a high skill level among this year’s players.

“We already have that team chemistry,” Sareena Johnson added. “We all work pretty well together.”

Mariner returns junior pitcher Haley Shields, who was a starter last year.

“She comes with a solid background in club ball, several pitches and now varsity experience,” Gonzalez said. “She started last season with a few injuries, and I feel she’s physically in a lot better space from last year. She’s also showing leadership by teaching JV pitchers how to pitch.”

New to team is freshman pitcher Marianna McMurtrie, who also plays shortstop.

“I’m excited to see both of them pitch,” Sareena Johnson said. “I think they’re both pretty good.”

Sophomore Rachael Hendrickson will split time with McMurtrie at shortstop and also play center field and possibly third base.

“She’s an all-around solid player who can play just about any position,” Gonzalez said.

Sareena Johnson is back at catcher and will be relied on to be a key leader in the infield along with sister Sateeva Johnson, a second baseman.

“I’ve spoken to Sareena Johnson about beinig more vocal and being loud during practice and games,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve already seen her stepping up. Sateeva Johnson can continue being a strong voice in the infield.”

Senior co-captain Ivy Hendricks, who also is back for her fourth season with the team, is the team’s most experienced outfielder. Gonzalez is counting on her to share her knowledge and to challenge her teammates to work hard and do their best.

“Ivy brings a level of intensity to most games,” Gonzalez added. “I hope for her to model this for the others.”

The Marauders have spent a lot of time working on their hitting in practice and Sateeva Johnson expects the offense to be improved from a year ago.

“That’s where we struggled the most,” she said.

Mariner scored 3 or fewer runs in 18 out of 20 games and the team was shut out 8 times.

“We’re doing a lot more batting practice,” Sateeva Johnson said.

This year Marauders don’t seem to get bogged down as much when they make mistakes.

“We’re ready to let go of our mistakes and just move on from them,” Sareena Johnson said.

Hendricks said the goals for the season are “to work hard, stay motivated and be there for each other off and on the field. … We all know we can do something good this year.”

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