2018 Spring Sports Previews: Colton softball
Head coach: Jim Brochis, sixth year
2017 record: 5-13 overall, 4-11 league play, PacWest Conference fourth place
Three-year record: 26-44 overall, 19-26 league play
Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost to eventual-state champion Rainier 0-11 in the first round
Seniors lost: Four – Shelby Marshall (All-League winner), Katlyn Baker, Katelyn Schneider, and Karolina Wycech
Key returners: Senior Brooklyn Olsen (All-League winner), junior Anna Wimsatt (All-League winner), sophomore Courtney Weinberger (All-League winner) senior Kylee Lewis, and sophomore Madison Olsen
2017 season recap: The Lady Viks started off the season slow with four losses, but found a bit of success in the first third of league play, beating Salem Academy 15-3 in an away matchup and edging out Jefferson 10-9. In a double-header at Gervais towards the end of league play, Colton fell 10-4 in the first game, but managed to come back and win the second 18-6, and then beat Jefferson 18-13 in their next game to win two in a row.
Season outlook: Head coach Jim Brochis is in his sixth season with the team, and he says every year he tries to work with the youth coaches to prepare the incoming players for high school softball. Because of the area's low numbers, the program does not have a junior varsity team, making it difficult for some athletes to transition from youth ball up to varsity.
"This season we are fortunate to have seven freshmen coming into the program who should adapt quickly to the speed of the game," Brochis said.
Colton returns three All-League players in Brooklyn Olsen, Anna Wimsatt, and Courtney Weinberger. They'll also return Madison Olsen, who played well last year at second base.
They'll look to pitching to be their strong point, as Wimsatt will start, while she has a hefty number of backups in freshmen Katelyn Dutton, Madelynne Peirce, Madelyn Robinson, and Lauren Reed.
"We expect to be one of the top two teams," Brochis said. "Scio and Blanchet Catholic, who were the two state qualifiers last season, should be our major challenges."
After last year's especially rainy spring weather forced teams around the state to cancel a number of games, Brochis has scheduled a preseason lineup of 15 games this season with the hopes of getting in some work before league play begins. Last year, Colton had only one preseason matchup before beginning PacWest Conference play.
"We have setup a tough 15-game preseason schedule which should prepare the players for the league season," he said. "Let's hope for a dry weather season so we can get our preseason games in."
First game: Colton opens the season at home against Clatskanie on Monday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m.