Sherwood softball is on the way up
In order to be successful in anything you've got to want it. And in the wake of two very trying years both on and off the field of play, Sherwood head coach Mikal Morris said her team is making the most of what was taken from them as the result of the pandemic.
"Driven," is how Morris described her team. "This group of seniors lost two real seasons of softball due to COVID and are so excited to play this year. They bring the energy and desire to every game."
This year's Bowmen team has a nice mix of older and younger talent, consisting of seven seniors, a junior, three sophomores and three freshmen.
Morris said the upperclassmen have done a great job uplifting the program over the last handful of years, and because of that is excited for what the underclassmen can do with it in the years to come.
"Sherwood softball has come so far in the last five years and I am so pleased with this team and how we are coming together," the coach said. "We're growing and the talent coming in is great. We will miss our senior leadership but have many great athletes in our program."
Morris took over at Sherwood prior to the 2016-17 season and inherited a team that over the previous three seasons went a combined 26-52. In her first year the Bowmen managed just one win, but they tallied four a year later, managed nine a year after that, and last year—in the COVID-shortened spring season—went 11-6 and placed fourth in the Pacific Conference.
This season Sherwood is 11-3 through the season's first month of play and is poised to be a factor in a league that appears there for the taking.
"This group of girls are really coming together as a team and they love this game and it shows," Morris said. "(I expect that) we will be a strong team in 6A softball this season. We shouldÂ be successful in our league, but know we have some strong competition in the league this year as well."
A couple of that "group of girls" who have led and will continue to lead the team this season are sophomore pitcher Faith McHill and senior catcher Sara Ellerton. Morris said both offer the leadership necessary to succeed and that McHill is constantly lifting up her teammates, but added that Ellerton brings an unrivaled passion for the game.
"She's (Ellerton) our catcher and all-around leader," the coach said. "She has passion and desire that a coach can not teach."
In addition to Ellerton and McHill, the Bowmen will lean on co-captain and infielder Raegan Chiniono, and will be assisted by sophomore newcomer Bella Zepeda who bats leadoff for the Bowmen and is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades defensively.
"She can really play any position we need and do it well," Morris said.
The coach believes defense is the strength of this year's team, but that their weakness—at least thus far—has been hitting against elite pitching talent.
That might sound obvious and like something many of their peers struggle with as well. But in losses to both Tigard and Tualatin—which are two of the state's best and boast elite pitching—earlier this season, the coach knows it will be imperative to up their offensive game if they want to make any waves during what they hope will be a postseason run—something Morris believes they can do.
"We can play with them and can't wait to have another chance."
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