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New-look Lady Bowmen have high hopes

Softball: Sherwood looks to make its way toward the top of the NWOC standings
by: DAN BROOD, THROWING HEAT — Brooke Davis, a first-team all-league pick last year, returns for the Lady Bowmen.

SHERWOOD - Things are looking a bit different for the Sherwood High School softball team this season.

But that's OK.

First of all, the Lady Bowmen have a new head coach in Dave Durfee. Although, Durfee's not new to the Sherwood program as he's been an assistant coach for the team the past nine years.

It looked like Durfee would be taking over a veteran Lady Bowmen squad, but that, too, has changed.

'I thought we'd look like an old team,' Durfee said. 'But we went to being a relatively young and inexperienced team. But I've already seen tremendous improvement in team ability and I'm looking for the Northwest Oregon Conference title.'

While the Lady Bowmen roster includes a lot of younger players, Sherwood is also stocked with some proven standout returnees from last year's team that tied for third in the NWOC standings and had a final overall record of 18-11.

Among those key returnees is senior right-handed pitcher Brooke Davis.

'She's an absolute power pitcher,' Durfee said. 'She's one of the best in the state.'

Davis, who recorded a perfect game in a league win over Wilsonville last year, shared the Northwest Oregon Conference Pitcher of the Year honors with Jordyn Brown of Glencoe last year. Davis was also a second-team Class 5A All-State pick.

She's already off to a strong start to her senior season. In the Lady Bowmen's first game of the year, Davis struck out six batters in the first inning - yes, really, six strikeouts in one inning - due to dropped third strikes.

Sophomore Hannah Muller and freshman Michelle Oenning could also see time in the pitcher's circle for the Lady Bowmen.

While Sherwood has a proven pitching commodity in Davis, the Lady Bowmen will have someone new - either junior Ashley Scott or sophomore Carly Meier - at catcher.

'It's not easy catching a power pitcher like Brooke,' Durfee said. 'But they're both been working extra hard.'

Senior Alyssa Troccoli, who is in her fourth year on the Sherwood varsity, started the season at shortstop and was anchoring the Lady Bowmen infield. But Troccoli recently suffered a broken arm. Sherwood is hoping she could be back in time if the team makes the playoffs.

Last year she was a first-team all-league selection and an honorable mention all-state pick.

Sophomore Cora Schafer returns at second base. Last year she earned second-team all-league honors. Oenning will play at first base.

At third base, Sherwood will welcome back senior power hitter Michelle Peck. As a sophomore, Peck earned first-team All-Tri-Valley League honors. But she missed her entire junior season due to a shoulder injury.

'I can't wait to unleash her on the league,' Durfee said. 'She's a great kid and no one loves this game more.'

Junior Annie Scott will also see time in the infield.

Senior returnee Jackie Walck will be in center field. She was a first-team all-league selection and honorable mention all-state pick last year.

Sophomore returnee Shahnaz Mooney will be in left field. Freshman Allegra Norton will also see time there. Junior Jamie Bradshaw will play in right field.

'Our strength is our pitching. It all starts there,' Durfee said. 'We'll be strong on defense. We're focusing on our offense. I think we'll surprise a lot of people.'

Last year, Sherwood saw its season end in a state playoff quarterfinal loss to Eagle Point. The quarterfinals have been a sticking point for the Lady Bowmen the past few years.

'We hope to get past the quarterfinals this year. We're pushing for it,' Troccoli said following a victory over Liberty earlier this year. 'Let's hope this is the year.'

As for the NWOC this year, Durfee sees defending champion Glencoe as the favorite.

'They didn't lose much,' Durfee said of the Crimson Tide. 'The whole league should be strong in pitching. Century and Hillsboro will both be tough.'

*****

Sherwood moved to 2-2 in league play after it fell 2-0 to Parkrose in a game played Tuesday at Sherwood High School.

The Lady Bowmen were slated to host Glencoe on Wednesday. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press.

Sherwood will be back in action Friday when it plays at Century in a league game starting at 4:30 p.m.

On Monday, the Lady Bowmen will be home to face St. Helens at 4:30 p.m.