SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Five players to watch

  • Sat Mar 13th, 2010 10:50pm
  • Sports

By Casey Donovan Herald Writer

Sarah Hensley, Granite Falls

Senior, shortstop

2009 honors: Cascade Conference Offensive MVP

College Plans: Undecided

2010 outlook: The saying big things come in small packages couldn’t be truer for Hensley. She packs a punch, hitting .625 last season with a .666 OBP, six home runs, 25 RBI and 19 runs scored in her junior campaign. Hensley has wheels to boot; she hit an inside the park home run against Lakewood last season. “You wouldn’t know by looking at her that she has all that power,” Granite Falls head coach Candi Reeves said. “She has a long ball hit.” Headlining the Tigers’ pitching is senior Alyssa Arndt, whose ERA was a spectacular .084 in an 18-2 season, including 10 shutouts and five one-hitters. Catcher Peyton Spencer hit .411 last season, with a .557 OBP.

Chandra Tewari, Jackson

Junior, left fielder

2009 honors: All-Wesco South second team

College Plans: undecided

2010 outlook: Tewari, Jackson’s threatening leadoff hitter, boasted a .609 OBP and .562 BA in 2009, and head coach Mike Moran said she may have improved on that into the 2010 season. A left-handed slapper, now with what she calls a “powerslap” swing, Tewari utilizes speed and contact into one powerful punch. “Her motor is continually running,” Moran said. “She is always ready to improve on what she already has.” It will be interesting to see how the change in pitching distance from 40 feet to 43 feet will affect Tewari, who relies on timing in her swing at the dish. Senior Dani Jackman, a Grand Canyon University commitment, will be called upon to pitch Jackson straight into and during the postseason. An All-Wesco South second team selection last season, Moran said that Jackman’s ability to switch to this year’s distance will be no problem, since the right-hander pitches on her select team from 43 feet. Jackman led the Timberwolves to an 18-4 record last season, and poses a nasty dropball pitch.

Brittany Jeans, Stanwood

Senior, pitcher

2009 honors: All-Wesco North first team

College Plans: Robert Morris University

2010 outlook: It’s scary to think that Jeans may be even more dangerous this year than last, and that is including the addition of three feet from the mound to the plate. Jeans, who relies on her rise ball to get herself out of tight jams, may have more room to operate with the added space. Jeans clocked 230 strikeouts last season, and pitched all but 27 innings the entire season, and is Stanwood’s only stallion this season. Sam Bingham, Jeans’ catcher extraordinaire, calls all the pitches, as the tandem has been working together since the age of 10.

Miranda Granger, Glacier Peak

Senior, center fielder

2009 honors: All-Wesco South first team

College Plans: Western Washington University

2010 outlook: Granger doesn’t explode onto the scene in the form of stats, but she certainly has the ability to take them away from opponents. “I’m full throttle all the time, I don’t try and mess around,” Granger said. Her ability to track the ball and cover massive amounts of ground makes her a natural center fielder, and her cannon of an arm makes runners think twice about trying to stretch out another base. “She is a very intense player that is determined to win,” Glacier Peak head coach Brad Johnson said. “Defense is her strong suit.” Sophomore and 2009 All Wesco-South second team shortstop Annie Reynolds is the backbone to the Grizzlies’ offensive attack. Her .403 AVG, .453 OBP are impressive, and 16 runs scored and 14 RBI shows that she can be an elite player as a sophomore.

Kalie Basher, Arlington

Junior, first baseman

2009 honors: All-Wesco North Honorable Mention

College plans: undecided

2010 outlook: Basher’s name is quite the telling story for how the junior captain plays. The left-handed power hitter’s .406 batting average and .550 slugging percentage were laced with nine extra basehits in her 2009 campaign. Her keen intellect at the plate makes her one of the most difficult batters to strike out, with only four fans and no caught-looking strikeouts in 64 at-bats. The rising star moves to her natural position of first base from playing outfield last season. “The girls really look up to her for her strength,” Arlington head coach Daniel Eng said. “She has a never give up attitude and a burning desire to win… there is not a pitcher out there that she can’t hit.” She produced 13 RBI and took six walks, showing her patience at the dish and ability to work deep counts into run-producing hits.