Softball coach Miranda Little is confident heading into a shortened season this spring.

SUBMITTED PHOTO: MIRANDA LITTLE - With a 32-zip win Tuesday, April 13, against Milwaukie, The St. Helens High School softball team is pumped for a new season. During our recent stretch of unseasonably warm weather, it has been a great time for the St. Helens High School softball team to participate in practices, getting ready for another softball season.

St. Helens kicked off the season with an impressive 32-0 clobbering of Milwaukie/Milwaukie Academy of the Arts on Tuesday, April 13.

With the first win under her belt, Coach Miranda Little is looking forward to the season ahead.

"It's looking pretty good," Little said. "We have a lot of new faces just because we didn't play any games last year, so I only have five girls on our team that I've seen play in a game."

Little continued, "We're excited about this season. We do have a lot of young athletes. We have three seniors and five juniors in the program."

Not having a season last year can make it hard to keep up skills, but Little said players were able to stay active.

"A lot of the girls play on travel teams and tournament teams, and they didn't have the same restrictions or regulations," Little pointed out. "A lot of the athletes still were able to have a season last summer and fall. We didn't retreat in our skills, or anything like that."

Little expects her three seniors to contribute quite a bit during this year's season. They are Kamryn Hubbs, who can play shortstop and utility positions; Brea Paulson, a pitcher and utility player; and Alise Gump, who plays first base and can also pitch.

"Between the three of them, they scored 13 of our runs on Tuesday," Little said.

Brand new players will be joining the team. Sophomore Ellie Austin will play third base, but can play everything except pitcher and catcher. Also, ninth-grader Ava Eib had a modified perfect game against Milwaukie on April 13.

"We have a new policy this year, a new rule where if you're ahead by 15 runs in the third inning, the game is over," Little said. "Because we were the home team, she (Eib) pitched three innings, but we only hit for two innings. She struck out seven and forced two ground balls."

Glancing ahead to upcoming competition, Little said, "It's really hard to decide on how other teams are going to look this year, because we didn't get to see anybody last year. Anybody could have the same situation I'm having, where we have a lot of strong underclassmen that we haven't shown to each other."

Even though St. Helens lost to Rex Putnam 6-3 Thursday, April 15, making the Lions' record 1-1 at press time, Little has good feelings heading into the new softball season at St. Helens High School.

"It's kind of exciting. It's fun," she said. The girls have been pumped. The weather is awesome. It's great."

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