SPSL North 4A Fastpitch At a Glance



∙ FAVORITES: Kentlake, Tahoma.

∙ CONTENDERS: Kentridge, Auburn Riverside, Auburn, Jefferson.

∙ SLEEPER: Kentwood.

∙ LEAGUE OUTLOOK: The most losses by an SPSL North champion since 2001 is two. Kentwood nearly ran the table last year, going 15-1 and Kentlake nearly did the same the year before, going 13-1. Times, however, are changing in the North. This spring, there’s no clear-cut top team. While Kentwood won it last year, the Conquerors return just one starter (second baseman Ally Mittleider) and have more than their share of question marks. Auburn Riverside, the only other SPSL North team to advance to state a year ago, graduated ace Amanda Fitzsimmons (UW), which leaves a sizable void in the middle of the Ravens’ diamond. That said, no team is likely going to run out a 16-0 or 15-1 record. The champion probably will finish with 3 or 4 (maybe even 5) losses, which would be the most by a first-place team in the North in more than 10 years. Add it up, and there’s going to be plenty of parity this spring. Kentlake and Tahoma both return a bevy of starters and should make some noise. Meanwhile, Kentridge could very well return to elite status. Though the Chargers finished in sixth last year at 7-9 in league, it’s worth noting that seven of its their losses came by two or fewer runs. Kentridge also returns the majority of last year’s squad, including ace Kelli Suguro, who is one of the North’s top-returning pitchers along with Kentlake’s Nikole Weber. Meanwhile, Auburn and Thomas Jefferson both have enough offense to make a run. All told, this should be a wacky season in the SPSL North.