Prep softball: Mavericks aiming for fourth straight trip to state tourney

Meadowdale's Samantha Gregoryk watches the pitch head to the plate during a Thursday practice. (Photos by David Pan)
Meadowdale’s Samantha Gregoryk watches the pitch head to the plate during a Thursday practice. (Photos by David Pan)

Meadowdale appears to be in a good position for what would be its fourth straight appearance to the state softball tournament.

The Mavericks graduated only two players from last year’s squad, but perhaps more importantly bring back two of the top pitchers in the league –Julia Reuble and Samantha Gregoryk.

Last season was the first time both saw significant time pitching for Meadowdale and coach Dennis Hopkins expects both to continue to do well.

“They play with high caliber travel teams,” Hopkins said of Reuble and Gregoryk. “I think they’ll be solid throughout the season. Both of them are juniors. They’re still developing their own style.”

Meadowdale shortstop Hailey Costello throws the ball to first base.
Meadowdale shortstop Hailey Costello throws the ball to first base.

The two give Hopkins options that some teams do not have, namely the ability to keep hitters off-balance. Reuble is the righthander, while Gregoryk is a lefty hurdler. Hopkins didn’t hesitate switching pitchers during games in order to mess with the opposition.

Hopkins hasn’t decided whether he’ll go with each pitcher for half a game or mix them up game by game. A likely scenario is that Hopkins will decide on who to throw depending on the opponent and how the Mavericks are doing offensively.

“Both of them are ready to go in every game,” Hopkins said.

Meadowdale’s defense should be strong, especially up the middle with senior shortstop Hailey Costello and senior second baseman Ciarra Hart. Both have been starting on varsity for the last three years. Returning third baseman Haili Taylor currently is out with an arm injury but should be back in the lineup shortly.

Also back are junior Katilyn Webster and sophomore Emma Helm. Webster is shifting from left to center field. She’ll see some time at leadoff, though Hopkins plans to do some experimenting at the top of the lineup.

“They’re all good base runners,” Hopkins said of his players.

Hopkins likes his hitters to be swinging the bat. “We’re always aggressive with the bat,” he said.

Hopkins has confidence in all his players, even those on the bench. The Mavericks have decent speed and power.

“There are no weak spots in my batting lineup,” he said.

The Mavericks started off the season with an 8-4 victory over non-conference opponent Kamiak. Meadowdale travels to Cascade for another non-league contest at 4 p.m., Monday, March 23 and then kicks off league play at 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 25 at Shorecrest.

Meadowdale's Julia Reuble delivers a pitch.
Meadowdale’s Julia Reuble delivers a pitch.

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