Wolverines swing into new season
There’s a lot of uncertainty from Truckee High softball team members and coaches regarding the quickly approaching season.
“It’s really kind of hard to tell,” Wolverines head coach Mitch Brown said about how competitive his team is this year. “I like our attitude and I like our heart, though.
“We have good defense but I don’t know what we’re gonna do beyond that.”
Brown’s vacillating forecast stems from the fact that Truckee lost three of its top players a season ago to graduation: Ace pitcher Kaley White, slugging shortstop Julie Rohrback and center fielder Courtney Prouty, who provided the comic relief, Brown said.
With the void comes the shuffling of players around the field.
Senior Kathleen Lee, last year’s backup to White, inherited the job as starting pitcher. Junior Kelly Stephens, who started at second base as a sophomore last year, will shift to shortstop while senior Corina Mincey will step in as the new second baseman. Junior Jordan Raber will likely play third, Brown said.
Katie Geresy, a senior co-team captain with first baseman Dani Turner and Lee, will replace Prouty in center field. And Brown said he is leaning towards starting sophomores Katie Reiswig in left field and Logan White in right.
“I think we’re pretty strong this year,” Geresy said. “We might struggle a little with pitching, because we only have one pitcher, but we’ll be strong at the plate and in the field.”
Rohrback, who recently returned from playing fall ball at Shasta (community) College (she said she felt like she needed a break from playing softball), is helping coach the team. From what she has seen, this year’s squad has more speed and a wider variety of skill than last year’s, which lost to Pahrump Valley in the state championship tournament.
“They have the talent,” Rohrback said. “And everybody seems to gel pretty well. They just need to be guided down the right road.”
That’s something Rohrback believes she can help Brown do.
“I enjoy the girls. They’re fun. I can relate to them and show them stuff because I’ve experienced everything,” she said.
One thing the team will undoubtedly miss is the power Rohrback provided in the cleanup spot, as well as the output from White and Prouty.
Turner, a left-handed hitter who possesses some pop of her own, said the losses will be felt but not to the point of causing concern.
“It will definitely make a difference, but we’ve got some hitters who can pick up the slack, so I’m not worried about that,” Turner said.
“We’re pretty good,” Truckee’s first baseman continued. “We’re short a catcher and a pitcher, but other than that …”
The missing catcher is Alycia Smith, a junior who opted not to play this year. In Smith’s place, juniors Katie Zusy and Amanda Jones will battle for the vacant position.
Zusy ” a first-year varsity player who cited a higher level of intensity and more running in practice as the main differences between JV and varsity ” is entering the season with an optimistic but realistic outlook.
“We all have potential, we just have to use it in the games,” she said, something the Wolverines had trouble doing in the preseason Yerington Tournament a couple weeks ago, when they went 0-3. “I think just everything needs working on.”
And with practices squeezed into the Truckee High gym, with an occasional workout in Reno, it’s difficult to shake off the inevitable accumulation of rust.
“It’s really hard to get back into it because we never play on a field,” Zusy said.
Geresy, as well as her teammates and coaches, agree.
“It’s hard for us. We can’t really field in here,” Geresy said of the gym, where hitting via soft toss, a pitching machine and tees remains the staple of practice. “It’s strictly batting, so we don’t get in any dirt time.”
With a season that stretches into mid May, however, all that gym business will most likely change ” at some point.
“It’s been rocky at first,” Stephens said, “but I think we’ll come together.”
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After COVID-19 disrupted events across the Truckee-Tahoe area, the region’s premier competitive events are back in full swing.