Tigard softball team boasts talent and experience
The Times' spring sports team preview stories are being written with the hope that teams will safely be able to return to action sometime this season. As of right now, school is suspended through April 28, so there can be no athletic contests until after that date, at the earliest.
The Tigard High School softball team definitely has plenty of varsity experience.
The Tigers also have plenty of talent.
You can also add in some determination and strong work ethic.
Now, all they may need is a chance.
The Tigard squad will have plenty of high hopes, and optimism, going for it if the 2020 season resumes.
"We have a strong senior class, and we're looking to compete for a league title, and make a run in the playoffs," said Tigard coach Pete Kostel, the 2019 Three Rivers League Coach of the Year. "A lot of kids are working really hard right now."
The Tigers, who are in the No. 6 spot in the preseason coaches poll, graduated just one senior from last year's squad that finished second in the final Three Rivers League standings, at 8-4, while going 20-9 on the season and reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Among the key returnees for Tigard is senior center fielder Lexi Klum, who is in her fourth season as a starter for the Tigers. Last year, Klum was a first-team All-Three Rivers League pick and a second-team Class 6A All-State pick.
Senior Elli Dardis, another four-year varsity player, also returns in the outfield. Dardis was an honorable-mention all-league pick a year ago. Other returning outfielders from last year's Tigard varsity include sophomore Eliot Miner, sophomore Kali Kisor, sophomore Kaylin Kisor and sophomore Sera Reilly.
At pitcher, Tigard returns a strong one-two combination in sophomore Makenna Reid and junior Sophia vanderSommen. Last year, Reid, a left-hander, was a first-team All-Three Rivers League selection and an honorable-mention Class 6A all-state pick. vanderSommen, a right-hander, was a second-team All-Three Rivers League pick last year. Both strong hitters as well, Reid or vanderSommen, who ever isn't pitching, could be playing at first base.
At catcher, Tigard has another four-year varsity player in senior Emily Paulson. Last year, Paulson was a second-team All-Three Rivers League selection.
Senior Abby Soderquist returns at second base for the Tigers. She also was a second-team all-league pick a year ago. Sophomore Kani Korok is back at third base. She was an honorable-mention all-league selection last year as a freshman. Junior Katie Regalado also returns in the infield.
The Tigers do need to replace the graduated Maddie Hoover, a three-year starter, at shortstop.
Newcomers to the Tigard varsity roster include freshman utility player Karen Spadafora and sophomore infielder Ellie Emery.
"We're looking for leadership through our seniors," Kostel said. "Pitching will be a strength, with two varsity pitchers returning in Sophia vanderSommen and Makenna Reid. Emily Paulson and Lexi Klum will be leading the way at the plate. We need to replace a three-year starter at shortstop. It will be a fun competition to watch unfold."
As for the Three Rivers League this year, Tigard could end up battling rival Tualatin for the top spot.
"I think we have a strong league, with us and Tualatin," Kostel said. "Tualatin has been on top, and they're our rival, which makes it fun as well."
Last year, Tigard swept the rival Wolves in their two league contests, ending Tualatin's state-record 45-game winning streak in the process. But Tualatin would go on to reach the Class 6A state championship game.
Tigard's first regularly scheduled game after April 28 would be an April 29 league game at Canby. But, of course, that is subject to change.
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