March 21, 1996 in Sports

Inland Empire League/Intermountain League Softball

 

INLAND EMPIRE LEAGUE

In predicted order of finish: 1. LAKE CITY TIMBERWOLVES

1995 record: 25-4 overall, 14-2 in league, second in state

Coach: Dwight Wilson, 2nd year

Top returners: Regan Long, senior, catcher-2b; Laura Tolzmann, sr., shortstop; Jenny Owen, sr., 2b.

Key newcomers: Courtney Zimmerman, sophomore, pitcher; Amber Barnes, junior, p; Shiree Wilson, jr., p; Kim Budvarson, jr., outfield; Autumn Cheyne, jr., p.

Coach’s comment: “We should be fairly steady. We’ve got quite a nucleus back. I look for us to be very, very competitive.”

Outlook: Long and Tolzmann are returning first-team IEL picks. Transfers Zimmerman (California) and Wilson (Arizona) give the Timberwolves pitching depth. “(Zimmerman has) excellent velocity; she can move the ball a little bit and change the speed pretty well,” Wilson said.

2. COEUR D’ALENE VIKINGS

1995 record: 14-16, 8-8

Coach: Larry Bieber, 3rd year.

Top returners: Stacy Dawson, sr., ss; Amber Orr, jr., 3b; Amy Maurer, sr., p; Kelly Babcock, soph., c.

Key newcomers: Stacy Mitchell, jr., of; Katelyn Tatum, soph., 1b; Sarah Bellingers, jr., if-c-p; Christie Babcock, jr., p; Jessica Moore, jr., if; Aimee Kleidosty, sr., of; Natalie Wuest, jr., of.

Coach’s comment: “We’re going to be pretty solid defensively. We’re hoping our pitching is consistent. We’re awful young; we only have one senior starter on this team.”

Outlook: Maurer earned the Vikings’ starting pitching spot during winter practices. “The only way you can get a kid to be a pitcher is they have to want it,” Bieber said. “She’s a good athlete, so I knew the potential was there. The thing that makes her valuable to us right now is she’s throwing strikes. Really, in this league, if you got good pitching and can play defense behind them, you’re going to be competitive.”

3. POST FALLS TROJANS

1995 record: 7-18, 7-9

Coach: Chris Johnson, 6th year.

Top returners: Sarah Atkinson, sr., p-c; Kym Morrison, sr., p-c; Brittany Murphy, sr., ss; Tarra Thomson, sr., 3b-of; Kym Morrison, sr., p-c; Elizabeth Twidt, sr., of; Lyndsy Klaudt, jr., 2b; Angie Foster, soph., p-if-of; Jennifer Glaser, jr., of.

Key newcomers: Saundra Juhlin, soph., c; Heidi Umthun, sr., of; Suzanne O’Riley, jr., of.

Coach’s comment: “This is probably the best group of athletes I’ve had at the varsity level in softball. All have fairly good backgrounds in the game. There’s no real superstars, but there’s no holes out there, either.”

Outlook: The return of two starting pitchers/ catchers is a plus for the Trojans, with Atkinson showing improved control and Morrison more speed. “The league should be relatively even again, like last year,” Johnson said. “We beat every team in the league at least once last year; I thought there was a lot of parity.”

4. SANDPOINT BULLDOGS

1995 record: 9-14, 5-11

Coach: Jeff Clark, 2nd year

Top returners: Tanjee Raynor, sr., c; Crystal Clark, sr., p; Tricia Ekwortzell, sr., 1b; Jodi McKitrick, jr, of.

Key newcomers: Zoe Oliver, soph., if; Jill Radonich, soph., of-p; Stacy Hartman, jr., if; Leah Free, jr., c-if; Tami Owens, jr., p; Angie Corlis, jr., utility; Bobbie Jo Jensen, soph., dh.

Coach’s comment: “We peaked in the middle and died at the end (last year). We got a little more experience.”

Outlook: Raynor was a first-team all-IEL selection and Clark, a southpaw, was a second-teamer. “(Clark) didn’t play basketball, just to concentrate on her pitching,” her father and coach said. Lake City gets coach Clark’s nod as the IEL team to beat. “The rest of the four (teams) are going to be pretty-well evenly matched.”

5. LEWISTON BENGALS

1995 record: 13-16, 6-10

Coach: Dick Richel, 4th year

Top returners: Charli White, sr., 3b; Tara Sanchez, jr., p-2b; Renee Rybiki, sr., c-of; Alyson Roberts, jr., ss-c.

Key newcomers: Annie Foster, jr., p-of; Amy Church, soph., if; Jessica Presnell, soph., of.

Coach’s comment: “It should be an interesting year. I think our kids are excited, building on the trip to state last year. I think it will be a matter of us being able to throw strikes and being able to score enough runs to stay competitive. I think our defense will be sound, but not flashy.”

Outlook: This is a rebuilding year for the Bengals, with White the lone returning starter. “When you lose eight people in the lineup, that’s tough to replace,” Richel said.

INTERMOUNTAIN LEAGUE

In predicted order of finish: 1. ST. MARIES LUMBERJACKS

1995 record: 18-6 overall, 9-3 in league, 4th at state

Coach: Todd Gilkey, 2nd year.

Top returners: Denise Hill, jr., ss; Amanda Tams, jr., c; Brianna Reynolds, sr., of; Naomi Wilcott, sr., of; Angie Epler, sr., if; Sarah Shippy, sr., if; Brianne Badgett, jr., p.; Alicia Adams, soph., if; Amy Reid, soph., of.

Key newcomers: Kim Reid, soph., if; Jamie Wolfe, soph., of; Lindsey Pace, jr., of.

Coach’s comment: “With 11 kids returning, the only position we’re really having to fill right now is (shortstop). The kids are really liking (fastpitch). This year, with the older kids, we’re not having to teach as much.”

Outlook: The Lumberjacks split their season opener with defending State A-3 champ Orofino, pounding 20 hits in the second game. Gilkey expects Lakeland to contend for the league title. “I see Lakeland being very strong, they have both pitchers back,” he said.

2. LAKELAND HAWKS

1995 record: 20-7, 10-3

Coach: Danielle Bean, 9th year

Top returners: Jenni Borg, sr., p-ss; Monica Hall, jr., p-ss; Angie Tweedy, jr., c-3b.

Key newcomers: Jeri Anne Huber, soph., of; Annie Carhart, jr., of-3b; Jessica McBride, jr., of; Tiffany Hall, frosh., p-ss.

Coach’s comment: “The two (starting) pitchers are back from last year. Monica (Hall) has picked up a little bit of speed, and she’s improved her accuracy. If anything we have stronger pitchers than we did a year ago.”

Outlook: Lakeland graduated its entire outfield, as well as standout second baseman Robin Zychek, who is now playing at Florida Tech. “We only have three seniors; we’ve got five kids who are either sophomores or freshmen, all those kids will see substantial playing time,” Bean said.

3. MOSCOW BEARS

1995 record: 12-11, 7-7

Coach: Robin Barnes, 3rd year

Top returners: Maria Battaglia, sr., of-if; Jenny Carson, sr., if; Jenny Moslemi, sr., ss.

Key newcomers: Sarah Wagner, jr., p; Erin Makus, jr., c-p; Traci Haselhuhn, jr., p; Toni Goetz, sr., 1b; Marisa Swank, jr., if.

Coach’s comment: “They’re excited about (fastpitch). What’s kinda neat is you see that enthusiasm, and they want to work hard. They also know there’s a possibility of playing after high school.”

Outlook: The Bears return just three letterwinners, and their start will be dictated largely by how fast Wagner recovers from a broken foot sustained during sliding practice. Veteran pitchers make Lakeland and St. Maries the IML teams to beat, Barnes said.

4. BONNERS FERRY BADGERS

1995 record: 6-12, 4-7

Coach: Ron Smith, 1st year

Top returners: Tammy Blanford, jr., p-ss; Shauna Erickson, jr., p-1b; Chris Weeks, sr., if-of.

Key newcomers: Lacy Dawe, jr., of-if; Stephanie Merrifield, jr., of-if; Chris Weeks, sr., if-of; Brandi Myers, jr., of; Jennifer Soito, soph., of.

Coach’s comment: “Confidence is the biggest thing we need from them. We’re a young team.” Outlook: Blanford is expected to be the leader on a team that includes just one senior. “We want to have some fun,” Smith said. “We’ve got to keep in focus this is a high school sport, it’s not the end of the world; we want to be competitive.”

5. PRIEST RIVER SPARTANS

1995 record: 1-14, 0-11

Coach: John Mullaley, 1st year

Top returners: Annie Madsen, sr., c-if; Reta Auten, jr., if-of-p; Elizabeth Auten, sr., 3b-1b.

Key newcomers: Katie Scott, soph., p; Katie Peterson, jr., if-c; Monica Ruiz, sr., utility-p; Brandy Eby, sr., of.

Coach’s comment: “What we’re looking for is improvement throughout the season. They feel embarrassed for doing mistakes when they do common drills; they’re learning a lot of new things.”

Outlook: It may take five weeks before the Spartans, especially Scott, are fundamentally comfortable with everything their new coach is trying to teach. “She has great power,” Mullaley said of the top pitching prospect. “We’ve taken away the power, and she’s consistently locating the ball.”

A-3/A-4 INDEPENDENT

LAKESIDE KNIGHTS

1995 record: 4-8

Coach: Brian Chase, 1st year

Top returners: Margaret SiJohn, jr., p-of; Jennifer Niebuhr, sr., of-p-ss; Jeannie Peone, soph., 3b-c; Alecia Hoffman, jr., 1b; Harmony Hammons, jr., 3b-p.

Key newcomers: Shawna Campble, sr., 2b; Angela Flint, soph., if; Amethyst Holton, frosh., p; Jennifer Degraffenreid, sr., of.

Coach’s comment: “The girls already are starting to show quite a bit of improvement. I think our infield is going to be our strength this year.”

Outlook: The Knights play a 16-game schedule, with four slowpitch games including today’s opener at Liberty, Wash. SiJohn made the pitching transition to the underhanded-windmill fastpitch style last year, and Holton is showing promise as SiJohn’s backup.

, DataTimes MEMO: See related story under the headline: Best softball teams will stay home for state

This sidebar appeared with the story: PLAYERS TO WATCH 1. Stacy Dawson, senior, shortstop, CdA. 2. Amanda Tams, senior, catcher, St. Maries. 3. Regan Long, senior, catcher-3B, LC. 4. Jenni Borg, senior, P-SS, Lakeland. 5. Laura Tolzmann, senior, SS, Lake City. 6. Monica Hall, junior, pitcher, Lakeland. 6. Crystal Clark, senior, pitcher, Sandpoint. 7. Jenny Owen, senior, 2B, Lake City.

See related story under the headline: Best softball teams will stay home for state

This sidebar appeared with the story: PLAYERS TO WATCH 1. Stacy Dawson, senior, shortstop, CdA. 2. Amanda Tams, senior, catcher, St. Maries. 3. Regan Long, senior, catcher-3B, LC. 4. Jenni Borg, senior, P-SS, Lakeland. 5. Laura Tolzmann, senior, SS, Lake City. 6. Monica Hall, junior, pitcher, Lakeland. 6. Crystal Clark, senior, pitcher, Sandpoint. 7. Jenny Owen, senior, 2B, Lake City.


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