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Young Tiger team ready to grow

Tigard is looking hopes to grab a Class 6A state berth


by: DAN BROOD - BEHIND THE PLATE -- Tigard High School freshman Ramsey Hare, shown here during the Tigers' game with St. Helens earlier this season, will take over at catcher this season for Tigard this season. TIGARD — They may be young.

Really, really, really young, in fact.

But the Tigers say they’re learning and they’re continuing to get better.

With that in mind, the Tigard High School softball team will be making to look some noise going into Pacific Conference play.

“We’re making strides and we’re getting better,” Tigard coach Gary Edwards said. “We’re taking baby steps right now, but we’ve got some talented young kids.”

The Tigers have few returnees from last year’s squad that placed third in the Pacific Conference at 11-3 while going 18-7 on the season. But what Tigard looks to have is a bounty of younger players who boast plenty of potential.

That certainly can be seen in the Tiger infield.

That infield is anchored by sophomore second baseman Kayla Saldana, who was an All-Pacific Conference second-team selection last year as a freshman.

“She’s just hitting the heck out of the ball,” Edwards said of Saldana, who hit a home run during the Tigers’ spring break tourney play in Medford.

At shortstop, Tigard has speedy freshman Dena Emmons.

“She’s really fast, and she’s hitting the ball well,” Edwards said.

Another freshman, Kalyna Korok, will be at third base. She also hit a home run during spring break play in Medford. Freshman Hannah Spadafora could also see some action at third.

Sophomore Lyssa Rabideau will be at first base.

“She’s playing great there,” Edwards said.

Junior Liz Vanderberg, sophomore Lexi Kelly and sophomore Katie Chabreck could all see time pitching for Tigard. Vanderberg is back for her junior senior after missing her sophomore campaign due to a back injury.

Freshman Ramsey Hare will be Tigard’s catcher. Rabideau could also see some action behind the plate.

Chabreck will play in center field and lead the Tigard outfield group. She was an honorable mention all-league pick last year.

Sophomore Emilee Heyden will be in right field. Spadafora will play in left. Sophomore Camille Riggs and freshman Abby Olson will also see time in the outfield.

“We’re growing,” Edwards said. “This is just a good group of kids and they’re fun to work with. We’ve got good speed and we’re starting to do some good things.”

Tigard moved to 2-8 on the season with a 7-6 non-league loss at home to Canby on Tuesday. Still the Tigers saw some positives in that contest, as they threw three Canby runners out at the plate.

“We’re getting there,” Edwards said.

As for the Pacific Conference this season, Edwards sees Glencoe and Tualatin as the favorites.

“I don’t think anyone can touch Glencoe or Tualatin,” he said. “But I think it will be a dogfight for everything else.”

That said, Tigard is taking aim at one of the league’s four automatic berths into the Class 6A state playoffs.

“I want to get into one of those playoff spots,” Edwards said.

Tigard will be back in action today (Thursday) when it plays at Aloha in a non-league game set to start at 5 p.m. at Aloha High School.

The Tigers will open their Pacific Conference slate Monday when they host McMinnville in a 5 p.m. game at Tigard High School.




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