Rebuilding Laker softball team eyes promising future
Lake Oswego's new softball coach willingly admits that the program is going through a rebuilding process.
Numbers are down this year as is experience on the team but Jennifer Campbell says spirits are very high.
"I've never coached a team that had such a tight bond. There's no quit in them," Campbell said.
Campbell has made it a goal to quickly grow the program's numbers and is making a concerted effort to boost excitement in the youth game in lake Oswego.
This year's team may take some lumps, especially early in the season as young players get their feet wet but the Lakers expect to improve dramatically.
Currently the Lakers are looking for some consistency on the mound. Sophomore Madison Harwood is making the adjustment from JV to varsity this year.
"It's a big jump and she's putting in the effort," Campbell said.
Emily Wong, the team's starting centerfielder, has also been splitting time on the mound.
Offensively the team is also searching for some consistency but there are some bright spots.
First baseman Lindsay Shallman, also a standout basketball player, came out for the team for the first time this year and has quickly filled in as the team's clean-up hitter.
"She's one of our best players and just a natural softball player," Campbell said.
At second base will be Mariah Mendez-Oliver while senior Yurika Asai will man shortstop.
"She's a very solid all-around player," Campbell said.
Haley Jensen has seen most of the innings at third base this year and Alex Jones is handling catching duties.
Flanking Wong in the outfield are Paige Quesenberry in leftfield and Samantha Silva in right.
"We've been pounding the fundamentals and the weather has really hurt us. Working on game strategies in the gym isn't the same," Campbell said.
The Lakers are 0-4 in preseason games and will open up league play next Monday against Lakeridge and the team hopes to be competitive as it enters the crux of the season.
"It's frustrating because you want to win but we know that's not entirely what this year is about and the girls are still playing with confidence," Campbell said.