Veterans poised to lead Laker softball team
Despite yet another season of batting practice in the gym and touching up on the cutoff play in the snow-lined road in front of North Tahoe High School, Laker softball is boasting one of the strongest teams it has ever had.
With five senior starters returning, three of those entering their fourth year on the varsity squad ” two of them pitchers ” North Tahoe hits the ground running this season.
“This is the best team we’ve ever had,” head coach Bill Freeman said.
Said senior captains Katie Freeman, Julianna Mills and Kendra Haskill ” all of whom have been on the varsity team for four years ” this year’s team is strong not only because many of the girls have played under coach Freeman for some time now, but also because everyone on the team is dedicated and really wants to play.
Both the captains and coach Freeman also touched on the fact that the program does not have a junior varsity program this year, which lends to the strength of the varsity team. Coach Freeman conceded that the loss of the JV team will eventually hurt the program, but for now it strengthens his varsity squad.
Freeman said that in addition to experienced older girls to carry the team, he also has a core of talented younger players that will contribute to this season’s success.
This year’s team also has the strongest catching personnel it ever has, according to the coach.
“We’re not afraid to try and throw someone out,” Freeman said of sophomore catchers Shea Mesa and Christina Lane, who also work well as pitchers to spell seniors Freeman and Haskill.
“We really have 15 strong girls,” coach Freeman said.
However, one of the hurdles for North Tahoe softball, and the infield in particular, comes in the potential loss of one of those strong girls.
Mills, one of the fourth-year varsity players, injured her knee in the first game of the season. She is currently on crutches and waiting to hear the status of the knee, which could possibly be a damaged ligament.
“Losing Julianna really hurt us,” Freeman said.
In addition to the potential loss of the rock-solid shortstop, the late snowpack is a hurdle, just as it is every year, said the coach and his captains said.
“Playing in the gym and going to a field is hard,” Katie Freeman said. “But we see that every year.”
This year the Lakers hope things will be different. After winning only one league game last season, coach Freeman hopes the experience and drive on his team this season will make the difference.
“We think we can win some league games this year,” Freeman said.
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