Sandy looks to a veteran lineup to lead the way, as the Pioneers return to one of the most talented softball league in the state.
The Mount Hood Conference has sent at least one team into the 6A semifinals in three of the past four years with Clackamas finishing as the state runner-up last spring.
"We saw some really tough competition at 5A, going up against players who ended up signing at some big places. It gets tougher and tougher, but I'm expecting some hard-fought battles," Sandy coach Kayla Anderson said. "It helps that our girls have been in that varsity realm before and they play on competitive teams in the summer. They've seen hard ground balls before."
The Pioneers will rely on junior Jordynn Allinger and senior Maya Lemus in the pitching circle.
"They both rely on different types of pitches, so they complement each other well," Anderson said. "We'll win games by getting ground balls and using our defense."
Sophomore Alejandra Ortega takes on catching duties, while senior Sam Brewster and sophomore Brooklyn Adams are expected to anchor the corner spots. Senior Leslie Main and Gentrey Turin will be called on to gobble up balls in the middle.
"We have a lot more depth with two or three people across all the positions," Anderson said. "I'm really excited to make those hard choices about who is playing because all 16 of them can get the job done."
Main, Bruner and Brewster form the heart of the batting order, which put up 30 combined runs in a doubleheader sweep over Mountain View last week.
"We have consistency throughout the lineup, so for us its about putting the ball in play and making the defense work," Anderson said.
The season got off to a slow start with snow days keeping the team away from the field for most of the first two weeks. With the weather heating up, Sandy looks to get up to speed, hosting an eight-team spring break tournament Monday at Tuesday.
"I'm excited to get out and play some softball, and it gives us a chance to get into a rhythm," Anderson said. "We have beautiful facilities, and this is a chance to get those games in."
Sandy opens the tournament at 9 a.m. against former 5A league foe Parkrose.
March 13 @ Lincoln L 5-1
March 16 vs. Mountain View W 17-2
March 16 vs. Mountain View W 13-0
March 19 @ Roosevelt, 3:45
March 21 vs. West Linn, 5
March 25-26 Sandy tournament
April 2 @ Newberg, 5
April 4 vs. Corvallis, 5
April 8 @ Forest Grove
Mount Hood Conference
April 10 vs. David Douglas, 4:30
April 12 @ Reynolds, 4:30
April 15 vs. Barlow, 4:30
April 17 vs. Centennial, 4:30
April 18 @ C. Catholic (Delta), 3
April 22 vs. Gresham, 4:30
April 24 vs. Clackamas, 4:30
April 26 @ David Douglas, 5
April 29 vs. Reynolds, 5
May 1 @ Barlow, 5
May 3 @ Centennial, 5
May 6 vs. C. Catholic, 5
May 8 @ Gresham, 5
May 9 @ Clackamas, 5
This season preview appears in our March 20, print edition.
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