Truckee softball preview | Wolverines hope to ride senior leadership to postseason | SierraSun.com

Truckee softball preview | Wolverines hope to ride senior leadership to postseason

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Sylas Wright / Sun File PhotoKrysta Murphy fires a pitch during a home game against South Tahoe last season. Murphy is one of eight returning seniors.

Playing three games in two days in the Fallon crossover tournament this weekend should do wonders to lift the Wolverines’ gymnasium blues.

and#8220;We’re looking good, but unfortunately, we’re battling the yearly struggle of having to practice in the gym,and#8221; said first-year Truckee head coach Jeremy Weber. and#8220;We look good in the gym, but we need to get out on real dirt and get some practice in. It’s just draining to have to go into the gym every day. The girls get depressed.and#8221;

While the lack of practice time on a real field is frustrating for the Truckee team, it’s not reflected in its performance.

The Wolverines are off to a 4-0 start in Mount Rose League play and 5-3-1 overall, with two of those losses coming in their first two games. Both of the losses, and the one tie, came against the Lahontan League, which Truckee will face off against this weekend.

and#8220;We’re really looking forward to getting down there and playing the crossover games,and#8221; said Weber, whose Wolverines are scheduled to play Fernley on Friday and defending 3A champ Fallon and Dayton on Saturday. and#8220;We lost 4-0 to Dayton and tied Fernley in the season-opening tournament, so we want to redeem ourselves against both of them, and redeem ourselves for losing to Fallon in regionals last year.and#8221;

The Truckee squad appears plenty capable. The roster is stacked with eight returning seniors from last year’s playoff team, as well as both starting pitchers from 2011 and#8212; sophomore left-hander Breanna Weber and senior righty Krysta Murphy. With all those returners, every position is filled by a slick-fielding, experienced player, coach Weber said.

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and#8220;I think our age and mentality is going to help us a lot in the long run,and#8221; the coach said. and#8220;The girls can rally back. They don’t seem to get frazzled. If they fall behind, they’re able to do the things they need to do to get back in it.and#8221;

That includes swinging the bat. The Wolverines have posted a .351 team average, led by Weber’s .500 average in 12 at-bats and senior catcher/outfielder Claire DePew’s .448 mark in 29 at-bats in the leadoff slot. Senior shortstop and No. 2 hitter Cheyenne Acevedo has a .429 average, and senior Jessie Jensen is hitting .348 in the third hole.

Junior catcher Sydnie English was leading the Wolverines offensively with a .538 average, but she quit the team on Wednesday to play in a basketball league, coach Weber said. In her absence, the coach said he moved Jensen from second base to catcher and plugged freshman JV call-up Tori Simpson in at second.

Murphy (.278), a third baseman when not pitching, is batting cleanup, while Bolton is hitting .400 in the fifth hole. Aside from the speedy DePew, who is Truckee’s best baserunner, the Wolverines’ first five hitters all boast exceptional power, Weber said.

and#8220;If teams try to pitch around our power early in the order, they’re just going to be facing another girl who can take it deep over the fence,and#8221; Weber said.

Simpson hits sixth and is followed by senior first baseman Kaite Churchman (.286), senior outfielder Sage Parkhurst (.417) and senior outfielder Jordan Salas. Sassy Graham, also a senior outfielder, rounds out the Truckee roster.

Weber said while the Wolverines have hit the ball hard overall, they’ve also struggled at times with the wide variety of pitching they’ve seen in the early going.

and#8220;We have quite a few girls that are all batting quite well, but we’ve been facing some difficulty with the range of pitching we’ve seen,and#8221; Weber said, explaining that, after facing 2A schools Incline and North Tahoe recently, Truckee hitters were overmatched against a hard-throwing Colfax team on Monday. and#8220;Colfax threw 55 (mph) with a bunch of pitches, and it really threw them for a loop. We shouldn’t be playing any teams from here on that are not in a good position pitching-wise. We should be facing good pitching from here on, so that should help.and#8221;

As far as their toughest competition, Weber said he expects South Tahoe to pose the biggest challenge from the Mount Rose League. The Vikings did lose their ace pitcher from last year, however, when they earned the top 3A seed ahead of Truckee from the Mount Rose League. Fallon, which defeated Truckee in the Northern Regional last season before going on to win state, returns another strong team in the Lahontan League, while Dayton and Fernley have proven tough as well.