• FAVORITES: Thomas Jefferson, Auburn Riverside.

• CONTENDERS: Kentlake, Kentwood.

• SLEEPER: Kentridge.

• OUTLOOK: As the season prepares to unfold, parity appears to be the name of the game in the South Puget Sound League North Division. Unlike the last several seasons, Kentlake was not tabbed by coaches in the preseason poll as the favorites. Instead, upstart Thomas Jefferson and Auburn Riverside, which returns to Class 4A this year, are the early favorites. The reason for the early optimism from both programs stems from pitching. Jefferson returns first-team all-league pitcher Jessica Dickson (11-3 last year, 0.80 ERA) while AR returns standout Amanda Fitzsimmons, the SPSL 3A’s Player of the Year last spring. Fitzsimmons isn’t the only reason for optimism at AR as the Ravens also return all leaguers Hannah Melick (.450 batting average) and Jamie Koenig (.353). TJ is equally stacked with returning all leaguers. Along with Dickson, the Raiders bring back first-team infielders Hannah Kiyohara and Jayme Carbon. All told, however, Kentlake cannot be overlooked. The Falcons have a tradition of excellence that dates back to the late 1990s and return enough talent to capture their fourth straight SPSL North crown. Leading the way for Kentlake will be first-team outfielders Juliann Hartnett (.373 average last year) and Breanne Bilbrey (.349) along with second-team infielder Sam Beckler (.350). If Kentlake is to win the North again, the Falcons will need to find a reliable ace to take over for star Felecia Harris, who is playing at the University of Washington. Meanwhile, Kentwood certainly will be a factor as well. Despite graduating Pitcher of the Year Kirsten Shreve, the Conquerors still return the bulk of their talent, including first-team infielder Jessica Glenn (.435 last year) and second-team pitcher Kayla Evans (North-best 0.79 ERA last spring). In addition, Kentwood brings back 10 players who helped the Conquerors challenge for the North title a year ago. Kentridge also should be a factor with do-it-all shortstop/pitcher Kelli Suguro and second-teamers Nicole Barger (infielder) and Danielle Orvella (pitcher) back in the mix. The Chargers did lose second-team pitcher Savannah Bommarito, who decided not to turn out for the team this year. Meanwhile, Kent-Meridian remains young, but the Royals are on the rise with a bevy of young talent, including sophomore Priscilla Gonzales (outfield) and freshman Josie Handolero.


Thomas Jefferson at Kentlake, Thursday, April 30: Jefferson ended KL’s run of 27 straight North Division wins last year. This late-season showdown could have plenty of playoff implications.

Kent-Meridian at Tahoma, Tuesday, May 5: Two young teams hoping to qualify for the postseason. This is the last game on the regular-season schedule and could have considerable playoff aspirations riding on it.

Auburn Riverside at Kentlake, Tuesday, May 5: These are two of the winningest programs in the North. Expect a battle every time they go toe-to-toe.



Amanda Fitzsimmons, A. Riverside, Pitcher, Senior

Notable: She does it all with her bat and arm. Early favorite to be league MVP.

Mercedes Wetmore, A. Riverside, Shortstop, Junior

Notable: One of the school’s best athletes, she can do it all on the diamond.

Juliann Hartnett, Kentlake, Outfielder, Senior

Notable: One of KL’s many mashers, she led the North with 20 RBI last season.

Breanne Bilbrey, Kentlake, Outfielder, Senior

Notable: She has earned first-team status three years in a row.

Kelli Suguro, Kentridge, SS/pitcher, Junior

Notable: Three-sport standout makes KR go on offense and defense.

Jessica Dickson, Jefferson, Pitcher, Senior

Notable: Struck out 78 batters in 83 innings pitched last season.

Jessica Glenn, Kentwood, First base, Senior

Notable: First-team all-leaguer led KW in hitting last year (.435).

Kayla Evans, Kentwood, Pitcher, Senior

Notable: Second-team all-leaguer is one of North’s elite pitchers.