Solid in softball
Not even the loss of seven seniors from the 2017 season could wipe a smile off the face of Skyline Spartans softball head coach Lindsay Sullivan following the first contest of the 2018 season.
The Skyline Spartans earned a comeback 12-7 win against the Juanita Rebels in a non-league game on March 12. Sullivan said the triumph was exactly what her team needed in order to set the tone for a successful season.
“I think my kids needed the win. Winning a game like this after losing seven seniors shows them that they are good. It gives them confidence and even more drive. It is something they will never let go of and carry throughout the season. This win was very important to my kids,” Sullivan said with a smile about her team.
Despite the losses, the Spartans roster has an assortment of players who have contributed mightily in previous years with the Spartans. Senior Shayna Swanson is the emotional leader.
“That girl finds a way to make something happen when she is up to bat and when she is on defense. She has so much energy and she usually loses her voice by the end of the game. She will rise up in the times that we need her. She is such a gamer,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said shortstop Taylor Juenke, who connected on a two-run home-run in the season opener against Juanita, is fully healthy after battling injuries last season. Centerfielder Kara Harnick will the Spartans’ leadoff hitter and second baseman Skylar Maloney is a brick wall at second base.
“She is a stud and she doesn’t let anything go by her in the field or when she is hitting. That kid does not strike out looking I can tell you that,” Sullivan said of Maloney.
Head coach: Lindsay Sullivan
Last year: 10-7 overall; finished in fourth place in the KingCo 4A Division in the regular season
Key players: Taylor Juenke, SS; Cara Harnick, CF; Skylar Maloney, 2B; Shayna Swanson, 3B/OF; Baillie Stewart, P; Emma Jacobs, P.
Primed to bounce back in baseball
Spartans’ tradition of excellence is alive and well.
Two years ago the Skyline Spartans reached the pinnacle on the baseball diamond.
That 2016 edition of the Spartans captured the Class 4A state title, then last year’s squad went 10-9. Head coach Brandon Hemphill was around for both experiences and, now in his third season, expects to see a season of improvement.
“We had a lot of young guys last year and they got some good experience,” Hemphill said. “Now they’re going to be major players for us this year. They are a little more comfortable and are a little more experienced. I’m excited to see what they can do on the baseball field.”
He believes the Spartans will be balanced in all aspects of the game.
“Our offense is probably going to be the strength our team. We’re also going to play good defense and we’re going to throw strikes,” Hemphill said. “Junior outfielder Cole Hinkleman is a real special talent and is a lot of fun to watch. Drew Tenczar and Bryce Smith are both guys who can play any position on the field. They play really hard and set the tone for this team. Will Simpson and Andrew Moore are swinging the bat really well.”
Over the past several years, the Spartans have been in contention for the coveted KingCo 4A title on a consistent basis.
“The tradition of excellence that the baseball program has had is something we take a lot of pride in. I have only been in charge for a few years so I’m trying to build on that tradition and the excellence that the guys before me laid out. We’re trying to expand on it. We got a great group of kids and they are doing a great job of buying in,” Hemphill said.
Head coach: Brandon Hemphill
Last year: 10-9 overall; finished in sixth place in the KingCo 4A Division in the regular season
Key players: Cole Hinkleman, OF; Alex Brenner, INF; Nolan Scelzi, P; Eddie Rosemont, P; Bryce Smith, UTL; Drew Tenczar, UTL; Will Simpson, UTL; Andrew Moore, 1B/OF.