T-birds hope better chemistry equals more wins

  • Tony Dondero<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:29am

SHORELINE — Some of the most important ingredients for success for the Shorewood softball team this year have little to do with bats and balls.

Team activities such as bowling, watching the latest Harry Potter movie together and playing the game Catch Phrase, a word game like charades, are some of the ways the Thunderbirds are building team chemistry.

“We all hang out together,” senior co-captain and first baseman Erica Ellersick said.

During last year’s 6-14 season, the team was often out of sync on and off the field.

“Last year was a little rocky,” junior catcher and co-captain Robyn Morton said, but now “we’re coming together.”

The Thunderbirds, who finished in eighth place with a 5-13 record in the Western Conference South Division last year, should improve with leadership from the veterans, senior second baseman Carrie Bunstine said.

Instilling confidence, “that’s mainly what our upperclassmen are trying to do,” Bunstine said.

The Thunderbirds return six starters: Morton; Bunstine; Ellersick, who received Wesco South honorable mention recognition last year; senior shortstop Brittany Lazar; sophomore Anna Ellersick, a second-team Wesco South center fielder last year; and senior pitcher Emily Davenport. Senior outfielder and catcher Jennifer Waller was a varsity reserve last season.

Davenport and fellow senior Kayla McCarthy will share the pitching duties. Both worked on their pitching over the winter at a clinic held at Kellogg Middle School.

Davenport is a hard thrower who tries to strike out hitters while McCarthy, who played on JV last year, is a finesse pitcher who puts a lot of movement on her ball.

“They’re hitting their spots really well,” Morton said of the pitchers.

Three freshmen, third baseman and shortstop Ashley Salazar, outfielder and second baseman Maddy Golden, and outfielder and third baseman Kayli Kamacho are expected to play significant roles. Moving up from JV is outfielder and third baseman Sam Agopsowicz.

The T-birds have some pop in their lineup with top-hitter Erica Ellersick, Salazar and McCarthy, head coach Tom Rizzuto said.

Through three games Ellersick was hitting .667.

“We have really good hitters this year,” Davenport said. “Erica’s amazing. She can hit anything, anywhere.”

Bunstine, Anna Ellersick, Kamacho and Golden supply speed on the basepaths.

The Wesco South is deep with favorites Kamiak, Everett, defending league champs Shorecrest, Mountlake Terrace, Jackson and Edmonds-Woodway all in the hunt.

“We will be competitive,” Rizzuto said. “We have a chance to finish in the top four and make it to districts. The Wesco South is pretty tough.”

Said Morton: “If we keep playing together as we have been we can stay with the best of them.”

Rizzuto, who also coaches eighth-graders in the fall at Einstein Middle School, has 2001 Shorewood graduate Jamie Ross as an assistant this year. Ross, a four-year starter and all-Wesco South center fielder, played at Jacksonville State in Florida and now works for the Shoreline School District.

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