Wildcats excited about Wesco debut | Softball

By David Pan | Mar 15, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Archbishop Murphy senior Gabi Koch bats during a jamboree Saturday, March 9, at Lincoln Field in Everett.

A talented group of veterans and newcomers should boost the Archbishop Murphy softball team’s prospects in its debut season in the Wesco 3A.

Last year’s team, which did not have any seniors, placed second in the Cascade Conference and advanced to the district tournament.

While the majority of the squad is back, Archbishop Murphy did lose two of its best players when starting catcher Lily Zwiefel moved to Minnesota and outfielder Lexie Klaudt suffered a season-ending injury during the soccer season.

Wildcats coach Jeff Latta, however, still has plenty of returning players ready to assume larger roles.

Junior pitcher Brooke Jordan not only is the team’s No. 1 pitcher but is a key component of the Wildcats’ offense.

“She’s our main offensive threat,” Latta said. “She’s a solid overall player. She led us into the playoffs. She hit three home runs. We’re really looking at her carrying the team.”

The outfield also features two of the four seniors on the roster – Gabi Koch and Natalie Ungvarsky. The other two seniors – first baseman/shortstop Alohi Elliot and third baseman Mary Grossenbacher – anchor the infield along with junior second baseman Isabella Balderrama.

With so much of the team back, Latta has noticed how the players are coming together.

“They know where each other is on the field and there is a trust within each other,” he said.

A freshman is taking over at catcher but Latta said you wouldn’t know it by the way she plays. Heleina Ah-Loe also plays ball with a travel team.

“She’s a really strong catcher. She’s got a strong arm,” Latta said. “She’s going to be an asset to our defense. She does not act like a freshman. She’s asserted herself in a positive way. She’s got a lot of leadership qualities that we really like.”

The Wildcats kicked off the season at a jamboree at Lincoln Field by Everett. The competition was stiff – 4A district playoff teams Kamiak and Lake Stevens – but served its purpose.

“We wanted to get some of the young players out on the field and get them some looks at live pitching,” Latta said. “The freshmen who will be playing, we wanted to get them comfortable on the field.”

Two of those freshmen expected to see significant playing time are twin sister Sydney and Haley Warren.

“They’re solid players,” Latta said. “We’re going to like having them around for the next four years.”

The higher level of competition in the Wesco 3A should prepare Archbishop Murphy well for the 2A postseason.

“My goal is to compete in every game and get ready for the 2A playoffs,” Latta said. “I really think this will benefit us a lot.”

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