The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Huskies experienced and their softball sights are set high


March 14, 2017

VARSITY SOFTBALL team members are, in front, from left, Makenna Melbye, Allison Miner, Sarita Zanona, Sunhee Bitter, Ashtyn Walker and Torree Hawken. In back are Kylie Armstrong, Sydney Mauer, Coach Ashley Cota, Head Coach Karyn Hartsook, Coach Mike Zanona, Marissa Kurtz and Madi Barringer. Not pictures is Ally Tow.

Sweet Home’s softball team is young, but it is experienced and new Head Coach Karyn Hartsook thinks the Huskies should go a long way.

“Our program’s strong,” Hartsook said. “It has a lot of foundation.”

The players have been putting in the time they need off season, she said. “Some of the players are attending crossfit in the mornings trying to strengthen themselves as players and mentally.”

The team had no seniors last year and returns just two this year, Sarita Zanona and Madi Barringer.

“They have both stepped up to take leadership roles with the transition,” Hartsook said. “Im proud of them as people and leaders. Their leadership has been outstanding.”

Zanona, who played third base last year, will step back onto the pitcher’s rubber this year with the departure of junior Brianna Hoffman. Zanona had tag teamed with Ally Tow to fulfill pitching duties two years ago when then-freshman pitcher Hoffman was out with an injury. This year, Hoffman moved away with her family.

Zanona has put in extra time off season to improve her pitching, Hartsook said.

Barringer continues at first base.

She is a solid defender, Hartsook said. “Great leader on and off the field. I look forward to her having a ton of success at the plate this year.”

Three juniors, Tow, Makenna Melbye and Kylie Armstrong, return to the varsity lineup.

As they did her freshman year, Tow will share the pitcher’s circle with Zanona.

She has stepped up and put in the time to get ready for it, Hartsook said. She dominated center field last year, and she keeps getting better at it.

Armstrong “will be able to provide us some experience in the outfield, and she has been working on her hitting,” Hartsook said. Returning catcher Melbye “will be a force to be reckoned with behind the plate.”

Hartsook also expects her to find a lot of success at the plate.

Three sophomores, Marissa Kurtz, Sunhee Bitter and Sydney Mauer, return.

Kurtz will continue in the outfield, Hartsook said. “The self-determination that kid has is going to continue to make her a success in anything she does. Her natural abilities enhance that hard work. I can see great things come with her offensively and defensively this year and for years to come.”

Bitter started at second last year, and she’ll continue there.

“Sunhee is an amazing leader again,” Hartsook said. “Quiet but forceful when she leads. I plan on seeing her do some amazing things at the plate this year.”

Mauer played outfield last year. This year, she’ll play positions in and outfield.

“She’s bigger, stronger and smarter” after putting in a lot of time over the summer, Hartsook said.

The team adds three freshmen, Torree Hawken, Allison Miner and Ashtyn Walker.

Hawken will be a utility player, support Melbye at catcher and play some outfield, Hartsook said. Miner also will play infield and outfield as a utility player. Ashtyn Walker will pitch and play outfield.

Hartsook is confident as she looks at the league.

“We’re the team to beat,” she said. “We have a strong foundation. The experience we have as varsity players, that’s something that is tough to beat.”

Elmira and Junction City will challenge the Huskies the most, she said, but her team’s goal is league champion.

“This group of athletes and softball players have the opportunity to go as far as they want to,” Hartsook said, and they want to make a name for themselves and put their team on the map.

Around the state, the Huskies will contend with teams like Scappoose, which finished second last year, along with teams like Banks and Henley.

Hartsook credits Cochran for building the foundation for softball in Sweet Home and creating opportunities for the softball program.

The Huskies defeated North Bend in the play-in round last year and lost to Henley in the first round of playoffs after finishing their regular season 19-6 overall and 13-2 in league. They finished the year 14th in Oregon School Activities Association.

Hartsook is assisted by Michael Zanona and Ashley Cota this year.

JUNIOR VARSITY SOFTBALL team members are, in front, from left, Jasmine Carter, Olivia Fairchild, Jessi Davenport and Hannah Powell. In the second row are Hailey Silver, Kayla Miller, Kirdy Koehne, Kennedi Waldrop, Sarah Hanson and Alana Silver. In back are Kate Hawken, Shahalie Erickson, Coach Caitlyn Gillespie, Coach KayDee McDaniel, Coach Michelle Knight, Aliya Boss and Samantha Coats.

Michelle Knight is coaching junior varsity with assistance from KayDee McDaniel. Chris Hiaasen is coaching the JV2, the first JV2-freshman team in years.

Some 37 players signed up for softball this season, Hartsook said.

JV players are juniors Hailey Silver and Kayla Miler; sophomores Alana Silver, Kennedi Waldrop, Kate Hawken, Shahalie Erickson, Samantha Coats and Aliya Boss; and freshmen Ashtyn Walker, Hannah Powell, Jasmine Carter, Jessi Davenport, Olivia Fairchild, Kirdy Koehne and Sarah Hansen.

JV2 players are sophomores Chloe Burks, Payton Ash and Kendal Soland and freshmen Taylor Goodwin, Nevaeh Grajiola, Mariah Koenig, Katie Kurtz, Jessica Manson, Kassidy Vandehei, Danielle Tressel and Haidyn Offutt.


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