Sports

Jefferson looking for third SPSL title in a row

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The Raiders return plenty of talent from a team that finished the South Puget Sound League South Division season with a 14-2 record and their second straight championship.

Chad Fahnlander takes over the head coaching duties from Tara Bacher. Fahnlander is the former coach of the Jefferson baseball team.

“We have great returners helping out the younger girls to keep the winning tradition alive,” he said.

The returners include seniors Amanda Guerrero (shortstop), Amanda Herrera (pitcher), Lindsay Radford (centerfield), Jessica Rakestraw (catcher) and Elyssa Wilson (outfield), as well as junior first baseman Lisa Clark.

The teams to beat in the South this year should be Spanaway Lake, Curtis, Decatur and Emerald Ridge. The Raiders will get their first test Tuesday when they open the SPSL South season against Curtis at home.

Decatur

Like a lot of teams in the SPSL South, the Decatur Gators lost plenty of talent from last year’s roster. The Gators finished 11-5 in league last year before losing two straight at the West Central District Tournament.

“We have very good overall team speed and players with great hearts,” said coach Pete Waid. “But we lost seven seniors from last year’s team.”

Included in those losses were pitcher Kelly Claar, who is playing at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Kaitlin Bailey and Lauren Morales.

Waid will be counting on junior Rachael Painter and senior Samantha Ganacias. Painter will get a bulk of the innings on the mound and Ganacias was a second-team All-SPSL South selection as an outfielder. Also back are utility players Ashley McCarney and Leanna Pomeroy.

The Gators will open their SPSL South season Tuesday at Celebration Park against Federal Way.

Beamer

The Titans proved they are going to be a team to contend with in the SPSL South in their first game of the season Tuesday afternoon. Beamer blew away Vashon Island in a non-leaguer 10-0 in five innings thanks to a 2-hit shutout from freshman pitcher Manna Bocchi.

“She pitched in junior high a little bit,” said first-year coach Stu Prince. “But we didn’t have a pitcher this year and she had the best stuff. She came out and threw a gem.”

The Titans’ roster is littered with freshmen and sophomores, which could cause them some trouble early in the SPSL South season. But Prince has six girls who play select fastpitch during the summer months.

“We are very young and very inexperienced,” Prince said. “But they are aggressive and talented and they work hard. We have great leadership on the team.”

Prince will be counting on sophomores Jade Clare and Ashley Hillstead, along with freshmen Kelli Calvin and Nikki Mills. Calvin, a third baseman, was 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the win over Vashon Island.

“We are going to be competitive and battle with teams,” Prince said. “They are an aggressive, confident group. They go up to the plate hacking.”

The Titans travel to Rogers Tuesday in their South opener.

Federal Way

The Eagles should be one of the most improved teams in the SPSL South.

“We are going to be OK if we stay healthy,” coach Joe Haworth said. “I think we are better than we were last year at every spot.”

The Eagles will have the services of one of the better sophomores in the league in pitcher Jennifer Ishikawa.

“She is one of those year-round players,” Haworth said. “She can really do anything. She is going to be a key for us.”

Federal Way returns catcher Noelle Vallecorsa, utility player Leslie Davis and infielder Becky Chapin.

The Eagles open their SPSL South season Tuesday against Decatur at Celebration Park.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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