> Culver High's softball Bulldogs wound up with Spring Break off, despite being scheduled to play La Pine March 26 at Culver.
Too many Culver players were vacationing last week for Jack Layton, the first-year coach, to field a softball team. But since the conflicts were known of in advance, La Pine made an adjustment. The teams are playing again Wednesday, April 2, in a non-league game at La Pine.
"We had about a half dozen girls show up for one practice. Mainly, I spent the week working on the infield and pulling some rocks out," Layton said. The infield settled enough to expose some rocks since the field was laid out and installed in the 2000-2001 school year.
Culver has another non-league game before starting league play. After the April 2 game it is hosting North Lake on Tuesday, April 8. The Bulldogs will launch into Columbia Basin Conference play in less than two weeks. It will, however, have more non-league competition, when it hosts Crook County's junior varsity on April 24.
Sophomore pitcher Bree Miller is Culver's pitcher, for the most part, but freshman teammate Jessie Calderson does some practicing beside her to be ready in the future or in case of emergency needs.
"I asked the girls who else would like to practice. I was hoping more would volunteer, but I don't think its good to push them to do something they don't want to," said Layton.
An experienced defense backs Culver's pitcher, including seniors Lanisha Goicoa, at shortstop, and Amanda Allen, at first, plus Marissa Hagman and Brieona Whitaker at third and the outfield. Renne Sosa has stepped in at catcher, Layton said.
There are experienced underclassmen patrolling still other positions for Culver. Kristie Allen is back at second base and Catrina Schehen and Kelli Lytle both lend experience in the outfield, along with Codie Poore.
Layton said he is looking forward to seeing how that collection responds to the start of league play, on April 15, against Umatilla.
Ready to back the group that is seeing most the playing time are Stephanie Briggs, Jessica Brown, Kayla Henson, Nikkosha Jone, Kelsea Lang, Jessica McCormick and Veronica Montes.
An expansion of the CBC is resulting in fewer different teams, but more games of league play for Culver and other members of the West division in the conference.
Culver is playing home-and-home doubleheaders against Umatilla, Heppner, Wahtonka, Pilot Rock and Stanfield to comprise its CBC competition this spring, unless it makes it to playoff competition. Four teams will battle for the two spots from the CBC in the state tournament bracket on May 24 at La Grande.