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Fastpitch preview: Wolves aim for improvement at state
Down two co-MVPs and two all-Olympic League first team members but not out.
The reigning Olympic League champions Wolves fastpitch squad are ready to power their way back to a state berth after a tough finish in 2013.
A core of the team, led by pitcher Makayla Bentz, that went 16-0 in the season, 2-1 at districts and 0-2 at state return and stronger.
Coach Mike McFarlen said the girls hit the weight rooms starting in October particularly Bentz, a first team all-leaguer. She went 15-0 in the 2013 regular season with 85 strikeouts with a 0.41 earned run average.
“I expect (Makayla) to do even better at the plate,” McFarlen said. “But I don’t think she can get much better at pitching.”
Cleanup hitter Alexas Besand returns for her senior year too. She’ll likely slam the Wolves to victory like she did in 2013 with 28 runs batted in, 4 home runs and a .632 batting average.
Besand was also named first team all-league.
As a team, Sequim’s whole unit could be all-league as last year’s top seven hitters batted over .500.
Despite losing co-MVPs catcher Bailey Rhodefer and center fielder Rylleigh Zbaraschuk, and Hannah Grubb and Columbia Haupt to graduation, Sequim has plenty of girls to fill in the gaps.
McKenzie Bentz takes over catching duties, Allysen Montelius fills in at center field and Mary Lu Clift shifts to shortstop. But right field is up for grabs, McFarlen said.
Outfielder/pitcher Melissa Lewis, a senior, continues to back up Makayla Bentz on the mound. She earned second-team honors last year after batting .282 with two doubles, a home run and 12 RBIs.
Clift, an all-league honorable mention last year, batted .517 with three doubles and 22 RBIs with fellow honorees Shelby Lott (.469, two doubles, a home run, 13 RBIs, four steals) and Olivia Kirsch (.417, 4 RBIs, one steal).
McFarlen said all the girls should improve including Kirsch who plays third base and is expected to get a lot more plate appearances.
Looking back, Sequim blanked Olympic 13-0 and Port Angeles 10-0 at the Olympic League tournament before losing its first game of the season at districts to Sumner and later its last two at state to Selah (10-4) and Sedro Woolley (5-4).
McFarlen said he anticipates the girls being in contention again for the league title, doing well at districts and making it to state. But he’s not hyping their chances.
“If we get there anything can happen,” he said.