Putnam remains the team to beat
The Kingsmen return a veteran lineup, headed by four-year starting pitcher Lauren Harvey
MILWAUKIE - It won't be a cakewalk, but Putnam, which breezed to a successful defense of its title last season, is favored to rule in Three Rivers League softball again this spring.
That's because the Kingsmen have both experience and tradition on their side. They've won or shared league titles in 14 of the past 16 seasons, and they've got most of their players back from last year's team that lost to Jesuit in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
But it's unlikely the Kingsmen will run away with first place in the TRL like last year, when they went 16-2, finishing four games up on second-place Clackamas.
That's because the Cavaliers and third-place Oregon City both return the majority of their players from their 2007 varsity rosters.
Eight players with starting experience return to the Kingsmen lineup and the majority of them have been on varsity since they were freshmen.
Lauren Harvey returns to lead the charge. A senior with four years of starting experience, Harvey was 'TRL Pitcher of the Year' in 2006 and again in 2007.
She led the Kingsmen last season with a 23-3 record and a 0.62 ERA. Her ERA as a sophomore was 0.185.
The Kingsmen also return first-team all-leaguers in seniors Sami Parr (shortstop) and Jade LeBaron (centerfield). Both are four-year starters.
Second-team all-league selections, junior Emily Kirk and sophomore Danielle Sayres, return to the outfield.
Senior Ronni Sayres, an honorable mention all-league utility player, returns, as does catcher/designated hitter Megan Hodson.
Hodson is out with an injury, and Putnam coach Tiffany Strnad says she is juggling her lineup until Hodson gets healthy. Ronni Sayres has been filling in at catcher.
Clackamas returns seven players with starting experience, including five who garnered all-league recognition a year ago.
First-team all-league selections senior Victoria Scholes (pitcher), junior Maddie Taylor (infield) and sophomore Ariel Rockwell (outfield) are the top returnees.
Clackamas sophomore Kathryn Persaud (infield) and senior Kristin Wayland (outfield) also earned all-league recognition a year ago.
And no one's counting Oregon City out. Six Pioneers who earned all-league recognition on an Oregon City team that placed third in league return, including first-team all-league utility player Brianna Winkle, first-team catcher Rachael Strong and first-team infielder Taylor Belmont.
The Pioneers also return a veteran pitcher in McKenzie Marshall, a second-team all-league selection.
Chelsea Mitchell (outfield), Samie Genskay (infield) and Mary Lugar (infield) also garnered all-league honors for the Pioneers a year ago.
Milwaukie, Lakeridge and Lake Oswego also have their pitchers back, and could serve as spoilers.
The Pacers, who are not known for fielding competitive softball teams, could surprise some people this year. They return five players who received all-league honors a year ago, including first-team all-league pitcher Natalie Rose.
Harvey starred for Putnam last week, as the Kingsmen opened league play with a 5-0 shutout of Milwaukie and a 9-1 win at Lakeridge.
The Kingsmen ace fanned 15 batters and walked no one in a near perfect game with Milwaukie.
Ashley Serdar was the Mustang's only baserunner. She reached with two down in the top of the seventh on a bloop single down the right-field line.
Harvey helped her own cause with a pair of base hits. LeBaron (2-for-4) had a two-run triple in a three-run third inning. Megan Malvick went 2-for-2, as the Kingsmen pounded out 10 hits.
Harvey hammered the ball for a two-run home run in the first inning of the 9-1 win at Lakeridge. She also got the job done on the mound, striking out seven and walking no one in a 4-hitter.
Junior Taylor Ramsey ripped a solo home run in the second inning to foil Harvey's shutout.
Ronni Sayres was a perfect 3-for-3 with her bat, with three RBI.
The Kingsmen were to face Southridge, South Salem, Roseburg and West Salem during a spring break trip to Medford.
They return to league play next Monday, when they entertain West Linn (2-2, 0-1). They go head-to-head with Oregon City (2-2, 1-0) next Wednesday (April 2) at Oregon City.