Glencoe hopes to make a run at another state title after winning it all in 2010

It should come as little surprise that 2013 could be another great year for the Glencoe softball team.

The Crimson Tide, Class 5A state champions in 2010, graduated just one senior from last year’s squad. Third baseman Alyssa Davis is now playing softball for Oregon Tech, the 2011 NAIA national champion, in Klamath HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Glencoe senior Katie Sutherland-Finch, the reigning conference Pitcher of the Year, delivers a pitch during a scrimmage last week.

“I think we’re really excited,” Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said. “We’ve got a couple young, new faces, which has kind of been fun, too.”

While all-state players like Davis are difficult to replace, the Tide should do just fine without her.

Ace Katie Sutherland-Finch, the Pacific Conference Pitcher of the Year and a first team all-state pick in 2012, is back for her final season on the mound at Glencoe. She played a large role in the success of last season, when the team went 23-7 overall and 12-2 to win the conference title. In the playoffs, the Tide breezed to 3-0 wins against Barlow and Centennial before being knocked off 6-5 by eventual finalist South Salem in the quarterfinal round.

“She’s looking good. She’s a total competitor, so she’s super excited,” Jukkala said about Sutherland-Finch. “She’s really taken over a leadership role and really done a good job so far this year, so I’m excited to see her out there.”

Glencoe welcomes back two other all-state players from 2012 in junior shortstop Courtney Clayton and junior Kylie Surratt, who will catch and spend some time in the outfield. Maria Dendinger is moving from second base to first base this season, and Emilee Eastman is moving from the outfield to take Davis’ spot at third. The team also returns outfielder Morgan Brown, the only senior besides Sutherland-Finch.

Newcomers include freshmen Macy Besuyen (infield)and Kamryn Apling (catcher).

“I’m excited to see them get the opportunity to play at the varsity level,” Jukkala said. “They’ve played a lot of summer ball, so they’ve got a lot of experience, but it will be fun to see them playing up with these guys.”

The team is hoping to be back in the playoffs this season, said Jukkala, for whom last year’s quarterfinal still grates a bit. Her team led 4-1 after four innings but made several uncharacteristic mistakes.

“It happens, especially in the softball/baseball world,” Jukkala said. “Any given inning you can have a couple. But we definitely battled and we made it such a close game, so that was awesome.”

By amanda miles

Hillsboro Tribune

Perhaps 2013 will be Liberty’s year. The Falcons have reached the Class 5A quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons. They count eight seniors on this year’s roster, plus they return three all-state players and another standout back from injury.

“There are clear expectations that we go deep in the playoffs, that we compete for a league title and we compete for a state championship,” Liberty coach Nolan Meeuwsen said. “So we have a lot of experience, a lot of summer ball players as well as a lot of high school experience. And I’m hoping that that plays out for us.”

One hole that Liberty will have to cover is the one left by Stephanie Meeuwsen, one of two daughters Nolan Meeuwsen coached on last year’s squad, which went 16-10 overall and 9-5 in the Northwest Oregon Conference before losing 2-0 to eventual finalist Silverton in the quarterfinals.

Stephanie Meeuwsen racked up accolades as a senior in 2012, including NWOC Player of the Year and first-team all-state honors at shortstop. Second team all-state utility player Kaleigh Hall also graduated in 2012, as did pitcher Hannah Herbert.

“Good players … but everyone’s replaceable, and we definitely have the talent and the tools to replace those kids,” Nolan Meeuwsen said.

Ashley Driscoll, a junior who split time with Herbert on the mound, will “be carrying most of the load this year,” according to Meeuwsen.

After missing most of last season because of a stress fracture, senior Alex Flores — a first team NWOC pick in 2011 who will continue her softball career at Portland State — is back at catcher for the Falcons.

“I’m expecting big things from her,” Meeuwsen said. “She’s a big hitter, she’s a great team leader. She knows the game, she has a passion for the game.”

Paige Smotherman, now a sophomore, filled in for Flores a year ago and became an honorable mention all-state catcher. Meeuwsen expects her to play third base. And another sophomore, Meeuwsen’s daughter Kelly, will slide from second base to shortstop after being a second team all-state pick in 2012.

Also returning are outfielders Karolyn Mason, who made the all-state third team a year ago, Kylie Wruble and Chandie Perez. Brittany Giesbers is the team’s likely second baseman, while Sierra LaMotte will start at first.

Liberty is testing itself in non-conference play, with games scheduled against four Pacific Conference teams to start the season.

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