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Cougars fastpitch PREVIEW
Lady Cougs hope to be competitive in tough league
A huge junior class and the lack of seniors point toward a stepping stone season ahead for Lakewood softball. However, head coach Steve Barkers squad appears to have the right make-up of youth and experience to compete favorably in a tough league.
One critical returnee, junior Kally Behen, has claimed the top pitching spot in the Lakewood rotation each season of her high school career. Her ability to control games will go a long way toward determining the overall team success.
At second base, former All-League performer Amanda Nunley makes the middle infield a team strength. She gives the team solid defense and added punch in the the batting order. Nunley garnered 2nd Team All-League attention as a freshman, and honorable mention as a sophomore.
However, Coach Barker will rely most heavily on junior captain and team catcher Becca Bean. Bean doubles as the second pitcher and her skills and leadership will be called on early to make the young squad competitive. Her resume includes an All-League selection as a freshman and honorable mention as a sophomore.
Lakewood faces a steep climb this year as many schools in the conference already field top notch squads. Last year league rival Archbishop Murphy won the 2A district championship, while Cedarcrest won the 3A districts, and Granite Fallls made a State appearance. Three state teams from the same league could spell trouble for some groups, and Coach Barker remains a realist.
We lack a little bit of depth, we dont have quite the talent level of the top two teams. Well start right in the middle.
Still, he hopes to make up ground as the season progresses and the young girls on the team mature into seasoned veterans. Brienne Stuart will be the lone senior who will contribute heavily to the club. She will see time as a back-up catcher as well as a third basewoman.
Coach Barker claims the overall strengths of this years team will be pitching and defense. The team needs to minimize errors and mental mistakes to challenge the top schools in the conference. He worries about the lack of offensive production from the previous season and intends to focus much of the preseason on how to drive in more runs.
With a minimum number of seniors, were trying to build to make next year a special year. The junior class is big. Theyve been playing a lot, but theyre still just juniors.
Head Coach: Steve Barker
Asst. Coaches: Andy Lien, Brad Ubert
Key Returners: Becca Bean C, Kally Behen P,
Amanda Nunley 2B/OF