Baker softball mixes pitching, power

By Gerry Steele March 17, 2012 10:43 am

By GERRY STEELE

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Baker will have much the same philosophy that helped win the Greater Oregon League softball title a year ago when the Bulldogs take the field this season.

Use strong pitching and power hitting to win games.

“Our strength should be our pitching and hopefully our offense,” said Baker coach Alan McCauley.

“We don’t have a lot of speed. We’re hoping to have a lot more girls hit the ball a long way this season.”

Baker returns six players from last season’s 23-4 team that reached the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

Leading that group is starting pitcher Darryn McCauley, a senior.

The other returning players are Jessi Stephens, Abi Smith, Taylor Ellis, Danielle Freese and Sierra Howerton.

McCauley will get the bulk of the pitching duties. Howerton and Sarah Shankle will back her up.

Ellis returns at catcher. Backing her up will be Howerton and Tasha Nelson, a transfer from Idaho.

Katie McCarrell and Darion Grove are vying for playing time at first base.

Stephens will start at second base, with Taylor McAdams in reserve.

Nelson is penciled in at shortstop with Howerton providing relief.

Howerton and McCauley will share time at third base, alternating between there and the pitching circle.

The three outfield positions will come from among Freese, Smith, Stephanie Shepherd, Shankle and McAdams.

Coach McCauley said the GOL should be tough.

“It will be real balanced,” he said.

“Ontario won’t have the pitching they’ve had in the past. La Grande returns their No. 1 pitcher, and Mac-Hi will be strong.”