tries to stay on top
WRHS needs to improve pitching,
Defense and pitching took the Wood
River High School softball team a long way in 2003—all the way to the
State 3A tournament where the Wolverines (23-9) placed fourth and ousted
two-time state champ Lakeland in a 5-4 thriller.
It was a record-setting season for
Wood River, which reached school bests in wins (23), best home record
(12-0), best defensive average (4.4 runs per game) and highest finish of
all three visits to the state fast-pitch meet.
But the Wolverines lost a lot from
that excellent team, including three-year varsity pitcher Aubrey Kirtley
(23-9), sturdy catcher Joni Chatterton and sparkplugs Molly Meyers,
Ashley Washburn and Kelly Haisley.
With those players, Wood River
posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school annals
and became a Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference powerhouse with a 27-5
record in league games over two years.
Ninth-year head coach Chris Cey
(133-87) has entered the 2004 campaign with six strong returning seniors
and some decent pitching depth, but he acknowledges there is plenty of
room for improvement.
Due to a scheduling quirk, Wood
River opened its 24-game regular-season schedule with a 15-5 Sawtooth
Central Idaho Conference loss to Declo March 13—and then doesn’t have
another game until April 5.
"With what we did at Declo, we
have a lot of room for improvement," said Cey. "I think we can score
runs, but we’ve got to work on our pitching and defense. We had way too
many walks and errors at Declo."
Cey added, "We have good pitching
depth and really good team speed. Plus, the kids can do multiple things
with the bat. Our job as coaches is to find out where we can best use
our players so we can put the best defensive team on the field."
This year’s captains, all seniors,
are shortstop Tiffany Wheeler, catcher Camey Anderson and pitcher
Chandin Persaud. Last spring righthander Persaud logged a fine 10-3
pitching record as a back-up to Kirtley.
Other pitchers for Cey and his
varsity assistant Darcee Barber are junior Ali Sherbine and sophomore
Jamie Stone. Sherbine is a talented player and super athlete, Cey said,
while Stone can play virtually any position—pitcher, shortstop, catcher.
Replacing Chatterton behind the
plate won’t be easy, but Camey Anderson has great potential for the 2004
Wolverines. Cey said, "Camey is a great leader back there. She
understands where the ball is going."
Seniors in the outfield should be
a major strength. Newcomer Nikki Calzacorta is penciled in over in left
field, while Emily Smith returns in center field and Koree Hawkes is in
Cey said, "Nikki is a great
athlete and covers a lot of ground. She has the potential to drive the
ball. Emily is totally solid defensively and can do multiple things
offensively, plus she’s a good baserunner."
Hawkes has been an inspirational
player for Hailey. She manages to come up with big plays when needed.
Infield positions are sort of up
for grabs because Wood River has the luxury of talent and depth. Juniors
Lisa Nilsen and Sherbine could play third. Wheeler and Stone are
shortstops, and junior Barbara Coleman is looking good at first base.
Junior Alexa Alberdi has nailed
down the second base position. Cey said, "Alexa is solid, fast and has a
The big question mark at the
moment, because she’s finishing up her alpine skiing season, is
sophomore Lauren Parsons. She’ll play somewhere because she’s that good.
Other juniors on varsity are Genii
Vert and Sydney Leopold.
New this year is the addition of a
"Designated Player," which will give coaches more flexibility by writing
in a tenth player on the lineup card.
And, sizing up the SCIC in Wood
River’s final year playing at the 3A level, coach Cey said the six-team
loop will be very even in terms of competition. "It could be a toss-up,"
Defending State 3A champion is
Buhl, so the SCIC has established itself as one of the best in Idaho.
The junior varsity pitcher for JV
coach and former Wood River softball player Aaron Molyneux is a
promising sophomore, Catherine Beck.
Rounding out the junior varsity
are eight freshmen. They are Alisha Comly, LeighAndra Roberts, Ali
Nilsen, Kayla Anderson, Kate Brummel, Esther Garza, Gabbi Sisson and
Wood River debuts its home season
at South Valley Sports Complex in Hailey with a doubleheader against
Jerome April 8.