Young Archbishop Murphy team closing in on playoff spot | Softball

By David Pan | May 05, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Archbishop Murphy’s Lily Zwiefel catches the ball against Granite Falls Monday, April 24, at Archbishop Murphy High School.

Though the results of the last four games haven’t gone its way, a young Archbishop Murphy softball team continues to improve with the end of the regular season in sight and the district playoffs starting next week.

“From the beginning of the year to now, we’ve definitely made a lot of improvement,” Archbishop Murphy coach Jeff Latta said. “Our softball IQ has increased as the season has gone by.”

The Wildcats’ nine freshmen and sophomore players have learned a lot and are continuing to progress, as evidenced by a 12-2 victory over Granite Falls on Monday, April 24. The Wildcats scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend their lead to 10 runs. The game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“The team came together,” Latta said. “We pitched well. We played good defense.”

Senior Mackenzie Treece and sophomore Lexie Klaudt have been the offensive leaders throughout the season, but other players are now starting to consistently hit the ball well.

Freshman pitcher Brooke Jordan and freshman catcher Lily Zwiefel have stepped forward and contributed some key hits, Latta noted.

“We’re starting to be able to drive more runs in,” he added.

The Wildcats have been adept at manufacturing runs with bunts and taking advantage of the team’s overall speed.

With more timely hits, Archbishop Murphy doesn’t have to take as many risks.

“Our girls are going to come through,” Latta said. “They’re more confident. We don’t have to generate runs through the steal and sacrifice. We’re just getting used to getting the timely hit.”

Jordan has shouldered the pitching duties, throwing in all but one game this season. Latta plans to have Klaudt, who pitched one game this season, back in the circle. The idea is to make sure the sophomore standout is ready should she be needed at the district tournament.

Klaudt pitched in a loss to Cedar Park Christian.

“She went out there and battled,” Latta said. “She gave us a chance. That’s all we can ask of her.”

When Klaudt heads to the circle, Latta likely will have Jordan catch in order to give Zwiefel, who has caught every game this year, a bit of a breather.

Archbishop Murphy lost 5-4 to South Whidbey on Monday, May 1. The Wildcats had a couple of miscues in the field that contributed to the loss.

“There were a just a couple of errors here and there that cost us a little bit,” Latta said. “You come to expect that with a young team.”

South Whidbey took a 4-0 lead after two innings and led 5-2 in the fifth. The Wildcats cut the deficit to 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

“We had a chance to win in the bottom of the seventh,” Latta said. “We couldn’t get that final run across.”

The Wildcats (4-7 in the league, 7-9 overall) lost 14-3 to Cedar Park Christian – Bothell on Wednesday, May 3, and face a major test against undefeated Cedarcrest at 4 p.m., Friday, May 5 at Archbishop Murphy High School.

The Red Wolves (12-0, 17-0) have experience and talent up and down the lineup, Latta said.

“They don’t make mistakes,” he said. “Their team comes through with timely hits. I think we can stay with them and match them. We’ve got to become more consistent.”

Latta wants to see his players staying focused throughout the game.

“The more we can focus on each and every pitch – that will make us a better team,” he said.

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