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Tualatin looking to step up

The Wolves boast plenty of talent, speed and optimism


by: DAN BROOD - MAKING THE PLAY -- Tualatin High School junior second baseman Beth Fanger (right), with sophomore shortstop Joslyn Gastiaburu to her right, will help anchor what should be a strong Timberwolf infield this season. TUALATIN — Enthusiasm.

Optimism.

They seem to be plentiful when it comes to the Tualatin High School softball team as it heads into Pacific Conference play.

And, it seems, with good reason.

After all, the Timberwolves have some solid returnees back from last year’s squad that finished fourth in the Pacific Conference standings a 8-6 while also going 17-12 on the season on their way to reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

Tualatin also has some key players returning from injury as well as bunch of promising newcomers to the varsity roster.

“I am looking forward to this season more than any other season while coaching at Tualatin,” Timberwolf head coach Jenna Wilson said. “Our coaching staff (which includes assistants Brandi Campos and Bill Wilson) feels confident that the girls know what they need to bring to each game. Our pitching staff is strong, we have the speed, we just need to get the bats going early in the game and we’ll be set.”

Among the key returnees for Tualatin will be junior Beth Fanger, who will help anchor the Wolves’ talented infield at second base. Last year, Fanger was a unanimous All-Pacific Conference first-team selection as an infielder.

The Wolves have another returning starter at shortstop in sophomore Joslyn Gastiaburu, who was an honorable mention all-league pick last year as a freshman.

Tualatin also has a returning starter of sorts at third base in senior Maddie Powelson.

Powelson started at third for the Wolves as a sophomore, but she missed her junior season due to a knee injury.

At first base, Tualatin has senior transfer Ashlynn Schmitt and sophomore Molly Olivera, who also is returning from injury.

Tualatin’s young, but deep, pitching staff includes sophomore Emily Sorem, who was a second-team all-league pick last year.

Sophomore returnee Alexa Kaplan will also see time in the pitcher’s circle for the Wolves, as well freshman Camryn Robbins.

At catcher, Tualatin has sophomore returnee Nicole Miller.

The Timberwolves’ outfield core will be led by senior center fielder Shelby Doering, an honorable mention all-league pick last year, who is in her fourth year on the Tualatin varsity.

Kaplan will also play in the outfield, as will sophomore Johnna Malafouris, freshman Caitlyn Sung, freshman Tanna Baggenstos and senior Sarah Trumbo.

While the Tualatin team looks to boast plenty of talent, the squad also has other attributes, such as leadership.

“The entire team leads in individual ways,” Wilson said. “Doering, of course, as a senior, will take on the leadership role as well as Powelson. They have been here for the last four years and know what it takes to get to the top. Fanger will also take a leadership role. She leads by example and I think the girls really respond to her.”

There is also plenty of flat-out speed.

“We have a good amount of speed coming from our frosh class,” Wilson said. “Our bats can be big if they are on, but that is something we are working on being more consistent in games. Strengths are pitching and defense.”

As for the Pacific Conference this season, Wilson sees some competitive battles ahead for the Wolves.

“Our league is tough, so it’s hard to predict,” she said. “I think it’s too early to tell, but I definitely feel like this year’s team will make it deep into the season. We know there is a lot of good competition not only in our league, but across the state, and we look forward to taking on the challenge of each and every game.

Tualatin moved to 9-2 on the season with a 10-0 win over Jesuit in a non-league game played Tuesday at Jesuit High School.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when it hosts West Linn in a non-league game set to start at 4:30 p.m. at Tualatin High School. Tualatin will open its Pacific Conference season Monday when it will be home to face Forest Grove at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Wolves will travel to Hillsboro for a 5 p.m. league contest.



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