Graduation took a pretty significant toll on the Lynnwood softball team.
The Royals lost several key players from last year’s district playoff squad, including Erica and Jessica Gott, Jasmin Edwards and Meagan Crabtree.
This year’s players were aware that there were holes in the lineup that would need to be filled.
“A lot of the girls worked hard in the offseason knowing that,” said new head coach Sara Hall, who previously was an assistant varsity coach for two years and the junior varsity coach for six years.
So players came into the 2015 season having worked on their pitching or on their outfield skills in order to give the team more options.
“The girls have really risen to the occasion,” said Hall, a 2002 Lynnwood High School graduate. “These girls have the best attitude. They’ll play anywhere and practice anywhere. They want to do what’s best for the team. We’ve been having a lot of fun.”
During Thursday’s practice, sophomore third baseman Madison Morgan was out in the bullpen practicing pitching, which surprised Hall. Morgan, one of the team’s top players, hasn’t pitched in a while.
Sophomore Dasia Lester, however, likely is going to see the majority of time at pitcher. Lester played in the outfield last season and really does enjoy that position.
“That is her passion,” Hall said. “She is a fantastic pitcher. … She has a variety of pitches. She’s very strong overall. She throws hard.”
Morgan will see time both at third and shortstop with senior Desiree Graham also expected to play shortstop and second base. Morgan already has verbally committed to playing at the University of Alabama. Graham is headed to Whitworth. Junior Megan Baker will be at first base. A newcomer behind the plate is Angie Martin, one of three freshmen on the roster.
Since the infield is pretty much set, many of the newcomers have spent time in practice in the outfield.
“They truly have been working hard to become a better team,” Hall said. “They say ‘since we have an infield, let’s get some more outfield reps.’ That’s where they probably will play.”
Hall has yet to settle on who’ll take over at centerfield with the departure of Edwards.
Either Graham or Lester will lead off with both possessing good speed.
“Both are very fast,” Hall said. “They can make things happen.”
Lynnwood opens the season at 4 p.m., Friday, March 20 at Cascade High School and then hosts Jackson at 4 p.m., Monday, March 23. The Royals then kick off league play with a home game against Shorewood at 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 25.
“I’m really excited and proud to be a part of this program,” Hall said.
– By David Pan