Pitcher Katelyn Bauman (Mt. Spokane); infielders Amber Ryan (Rogers), Kilee Brown (North Central) and Kaileene Krauth (Mt.Spokane); outfielders Brittany Connor (University), Alana Norman (Shadle Park) and Ashlynn Bocook (Mead); and utility player Sara Anthony (Rogers).
Other key players: P Hannah Beloved (Mead), IF Kaitlyn Huggins (Mead), OF Jessica Ellis (Mead), IF/OF Malia Leavitt (Ferris), P/IF Nicole Nelson (Ferris), IF/OF Hailey Wesselman (University), P/IF Brittany Hecker (University), P/OF Sammy Beemer (Lewis and Clark), P Carli Riordan (Central Valley), C McKenzie Shea (Central Valley), OF Taylor Wayman (Central Valley), OF Christie Tombari (Gonzaga Prep), P/IF Julia Rambo (Gonzaga Prep), OF Kaycee Perisho (Shadle Park).
“Pitching will be down this year,” Rogers coach Cris Coffield said in his preseason questionnaire, adding that it could be a league dominated by offense this season. However, Mt. Spokane returns Bauman, who is noted by several coaches as the league’s top pitcher. That could be enough for the Wildcats, who are regarded as one of the top teams in the league. … University is the overwhelming favorite to win the league title as the Titans return five starters from last season’s roster. “Team speed is a strength this year as well as team chemistry,” U-Hi coach Jon Schuh said. … Central Valley will be in the hunt as well. First-year CV coach Joe Stanton cited pitching, catching and defense as strengths and offensive production as an area needing improvement. … Shadle Park lost first-team all-league pitcher Tiffany Lucas, who transferred, and coach Guy Perham noted his Highlanders will have to overcome a lack of experience to make an impact. … North Central is “versatile, athletic and solid on defense,” said coach Rob Kuehn, who will start a young pitcher and have several players in new positions. … Mead coach John Barrington said the Panthers “need to replace some key positions and how that goes will determine a lot about how we do this season.” … Last season’s district 4A champion Ferris returns five starters, but is young with four freshmen on varsity after losing five key seniors. “We should definitely compete if (we) play to (our) ability,” Saxons coach Laurie Smith said. … “As with every year, experience in the circle is the key for all teams,” U-Hi’s Schuh added. “Who has the best supporting cast will also be key, because many teams will be fairly equal in the circle this year.”
5A Inland Empire League
|Predicted order of finish:|
|1. Lake City|
|3. Coeur d’Alene|
|4. Post Falls|
Pitchers Casey Stangel (Lake City), Lyndsie Scholwinski (Coeur d’Alene) and Shawnee Zink (Lewiston); outfielder Kellsi Parson (Lewiston); infielders Paige Wells (Lewiston), Vanessa Shippy (Lake City), Jessica Lupinacci (Coeur d’Alene), Kylie Parker (Coeur d’Alene), Katie Rowe (Lake City) and Hailey Jackson (Lake City); and designated hitter/utility player Dara Kolar (Post Falls).
Defending state champion Lake City finished last season with a perfect record behind left-handed pitcher Stangel, a junior this year, who struck out 18 batters in one game last season to set a school record. The Timberwolves are heavy favorites to win again this year. … Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston are also solid, returning several starters. “If we continue developing, we have a good chance of going to state,” Lewiston coach Dave Garrett said.
Great Northern League
|Predicted order of finish:|
|1. West Valley|
|3. East Valley|
|6. Deer Park|
|7. Medical Lake|
Pitchers Kelli Peckham (West Valley) and Hunter Allen (East Valley); infielders Jessica Mitchell (West Valley), Gabbi Espindola (West Valley), Gracie Pitts (Cheney) and Hannah Herndon (East Valley); outfielders Alex Lopez (East Valley) and Cassie Finn (West Valley); and utility players Katelyn Sage (West Valley) and Mandy McDowell (Cheney).
The defending champion and regional runner-up West Valley Eagles only graduated one starter from last year’s roster and have experience on their side. “We were 20-0 last season and that always takes some degree of good luck and good play,” WV coach Paul Cooley said. “We have a strong team that just needs to come together.” … Cheney and East Valley also return solid players to their lineups, and the rest of the league is wide open according to most coaches.
|Predicted finish||4. Mead||8. Gonzaga Prep|
|1. University||5. Shadle Park||9. Rogers|
|2. Mt. Spokane||6. Lewis and Clark||10. Ferris|
|3. Central Valley||7. North Central|
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