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Auburn, Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Riverside ready for season | Prep fastpitch preview
LIONS AT A GLANCE
• COACH: Alicia Thompson, third season
• LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 13-14 overall, 4th place in SPSL 3A (6-9) record. Eliminated on Day One of the Washington State 3A tourney by losing to Meadowdale (6-0) and Interlake (8-7).
• TOP RETURNERS: Delene Colburn, junior, pitcher/second baseman; Riley Decker, junior, catcher/third basemen; Savanna Gusman, junior, catcher/infielder; Cori Creveling, senior, first baseman/outfielder; Samantha Slagle, junior, outfielder; and Marissa Petrovich, sophomore, outfielder.
• OUTLOOK: "We are planning on another berth to the state tournament," Thompson said. "We have our state tournament battery back (Decker and Colburn). Add to that a ton of speed in Colburn, (freshman) Zoe Collins, Petrovich and Gusman. We also added two more catchers and another pitcher, giving us depth we didn't have last year."
"We finished 4th in league last year and peaked at the right time. This year we plan on finishing top in our league. We are young with four freshman starters; however, they all play select ball and are very hard-working kids that bring a lot of competitive firepower to our team. I expect the leadership I have in Delene and Rylie, along with my junior and sophomore returners, paired with that freshman energy, to put us deep into post-season play."
• MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Auburn Mountainview hosts Lakes at 4 p.m., March 25, and makes a road trip to Bonney Lake at 4 p.m. March 27.
RAVENS AT A GLANCE
• COACH: Bryce Strand, second season
• LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 2-18 overall, eighth in the South Puget Sound League North 4A (2-14 record), qualified for the district playoffs.
• TOP RETURNERS: Emma Bedsworth, senior, center fielder; Courtney Boogard, senior, first baseman; Kelsie Terrell, junior, shortstop; and Emily Valnes, senior, third baseman/second baseman/pitcher.
• TOP NEWCOMERS: Taylor Poe, junior, shortstop/third baseman/catcher.
• OUTLOOK: Last year the Ravens struggled through a tough SPSL North 4A schedule, which included third-place state finisher Tahoma. The team did not make the postseason, finishing eighth out of 10 teams in the conference. It was a brutal welcome for first-year head coach Bryce Strand.
If Auburn Riverside is to be successful this season, it must find an ace to lead the effort on the mound. Last year the Ravens relied on Boogard (1-6 with 35.2 innings pitched), who gave up 76 earned runs. Valnes (0-2 with 36 innings pitched) and senior Heather Prettyman (9.2 inning pitched, mostly in relief) did not fare much better. Hopefully, the experiences garnered last season make for a better, savvier staff this season.
Offensively, speedster Bedsworth was lights out from the left side of the plate, earning an all-league outfielder nod and winning the league slugging and on base percentage titles last season. She finished with a .471 batting average with three triples, eight stolen bases, 14 runs and 12 RBIS. Boogard contributed with eight RBIs, and Terrell chimed in with a .344 batting average, 11 runs and six RBIs. If Auburn Riverside wants to see the postseason in 2014, all three girls need to step it up and help the team's newcomers• MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Ravens host Tahoma at 3:30 p.m. April 2 and play cross-town rival Auburn at 3:30 p.m., April 4 at GSA Park.
TROJANS AT A GLANCE
• COACH: Charlie Frampton, 7th season
• LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 7-12 overall, 7th place in SPSL North 4A (6-10 record).
• TOP RETURNERS: No information received.
• OUTLOOK: No information received.
• MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Trojans kick off the SPSL North 4A regular season at 4 p.m. March 25 with a game at GSA Park against Kentlake. No fooling, Auburn gets an early test when it travel to take on the third-place 4A team in the state last year, Tahoma, at 4 p.m. April 1. You have to love a cross-town rivalry. The Trojans and Ravens square off twice, at 4 p.m., April 4, and 7 p.m., April 22, both at GSA Field.