Lakeridge returns two strong starters on a team thats solid in the fundamentals

by: DAN BROOD - Lakeridge's Erica Saporito tries to avoid a tag at the plate in the Pacers' win over Sherwood.The Lakeridge softball team is off to a solid start this year under a new coach who hopes to bring some stability to the program.

Alden was a late hire heading into the season but she was impressed with the group of players she inherited.

“Coming in, I didn't really know what to expect. I hadn't really been looking for a head coaching job but I took a look at the team on the first day of practice and I was shocked that they hadn't won more games last year. There's a lot of talent especially with the way they play defense,” Alden said.

The Pacers return both of their starting pitchers from last season, giving the team a very strong foundation and some of the most experience at that position in the league.

Both Kaylin Rooney and Chase Pearson should see plenty of innings on the mound this year and both are middle-of-the-order hitters for Lakeridge as well, switching off at first base while the other player is pitching.

“They both have a lot of high school experience and know how to pitch in the TRL,” Alden said.

Pitching and defense figure to be the cornerstones for the Pacers this year. Lakeridge is fundamentally sound in the field and Alden believes that, if the offense continues to improve, the team could be very formidable this season.

“The offense definitely has potential and I think our pitching will keep us in games,” Alden said.

In the line-up this year, Erica Saporito and Alicia Loiler will share catching duties with Loiler, who has one of the strongest arms on the team, also seeing time in the outfield.

Lakeridge has a versatile infield with four or five players who can fill in at various positions.

Bailey Morris and Amy Adler are both strong defensively while Annie Griffin has been an anchor at shortstop.

“She's soft of our silent leader. She's quiet but she's a go-getter,” Alden said.

Katie Barton and Anne Monroe will also see time in the infield this year.

Alongside Loiler in the outfield, Shequina Boe will handle centerfield duties as perhaps the team's quickest players.

Freshman Sammy Danshock??? will also get time in the outfield.

Early in the season, Alden has been focusing on getting the team acclimated to her system and bringing structure to the team.

“They've seen a lot of different style in the past few seasons but a lot of these girls have grown up playing together. I'm just trying to get them comfortable with my approach and trying to develop good hitters,” Alden said.

Alden is also trying to instill a sense of confidence in the team which seems to have taken effect.

The Pacers are 4-3 to start the year, most recently coming off a 4-3 victory over The Dalles Wahtonka in extra innings.

Lakeridge hopes to be very competitive in a balanced but wide open Three Rivers League this year.

“I think we're very capable of finishing in the top-three and this team wants to be there,” Alden said.

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