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Pitching in dedication

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PRHS Softball proves strong despite team changes

[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]harging the field in mid November, three months before preseason began, the girls varsity softball conditioned for their spring season with JV coaches Scott and Lisa Tibbetts. This early dedication paid off last season, as the team earned second place in league and 10-4 record.

   ”I know if we prepare well and work hard as a team we can win league,” said junior Brooke Milder, who played shortstop last year. “We have the talent and drive; we just need to apply it to game situation.”

   Milder, a key player on varsity since a freshman, bats .352 and leads with on base percentage of .431. Playing in all 25 of the team’s games last year, she earned 20 of the 154 runs last year, making her tied with senior Rebecca Twyman for most runs in the 2017 spring season.

   Last season, the team tied Arroyo Grande for second place in PAC 8.

   The team lost important players — catcher Livia Rambo and first baseman Lindsay Sonniksen — and changed coaches. Coach Berkley Baker was replaced early this season by Coach Billy Tidwell, PRHS Varsity Softball Coach from 2004-2007, due to conflicts between the coach and certain players. They have faced four  head coaches within four consecutive seasons, but have proved that new leadership will not be a new challenge.

   “We have a whole new set of coaches who are all about the girls; we all genuinely enjoy coming to practice, and we enjoy having new players,” said senior Crystal Linn, outfield.

   The team’s attitude is reflected in their diligent practices. Softballs fly out of the pitching machine at 50 miles an hour. The bat meets each ball with a “zing!” sending sounds of dings and whirrs of the machine and bat through the campus. Players take turns at bat, perfecting form, aim, and power. They warm up by stretching, throwing, and running, and infield and outfield drills follow, then hitting, then base running. The team practices in this fashion in hopes to translate all this training into game results.

 

Sophomore Karli Wisenhunt gets in position to catch the ball as she protects her base.

 “We have the talent to accomplish greater things, and we all want to take our team to the next level this season,” said Milder, who believes coaching and roster changes won’t affect the team’s play or games.

   Winning their first game of the season against Morro Bay 6-0, the girls already mirrored the success of their previous season, during which they beat Morro Bay 10-1. Since, they’ve won two other games against Santa Maria and Nipomo and lost one to Templeton. On March 29, the Bearcats face off against AGHS, to whom they tied league last season.

   “Our challenges this season will be to not ‘level out’ mid season,” said Linn. “We need to keep rising and stay focused.”

   With one month under his belt, Tidwell now leads the girls after a ten year break. “They seem willing to work for what they want as a team and not just wish for it.”

   “I love everything about the game of softball,” said Milder, shortstop and second baseman. “The offense, defense, the competitive aspect of the game, being with girls who want to win and achieve their goals just as much as [I] do. There’s nothing better than being out on the field and letting the stress of the world slip away for a few hours.”

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