Edmonds-Woodway looks to be a district playoff contender | Softball

Young Warriors have plenty of experience
By David Pan | Mar 17, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Edmonds-Woodway senior co-captain Kendra Cooper bunts the ball during a hitting drill. Cooper is one of three seniors for the Warriors, who advanced to the district tournament last season.

On paper, Edmonds-Woodway appears to be one of the younger teams in the league.

Eight of the 17 players on the roster are sophomores and only three seniors are back from last year.

But below the surface, Edmonds-Woodway possesses plenty of experience and the Warriors should be among the favorites in the Wesco 3A South along with district rival and defending 3A state champion Meadowdale.

“It’s pretty much the exact same team as last year,” senior second baseman Kendra Cooper said.

In 2016, Edmomds-Woodway finished third in the league and came up just two games short of advancing to the state tournament.

“A lot of the sophomores played in games last year,” Cooper said.

Juniors Kyra Collingridge and Mariah Woolery have pitched for the Warriors since they were freshmen. The two, as freshmen, helped lead Edmonds-Woodway to a surprise appearance at the state tournament in 2015, a season that coach Mike Venable described as a special year.

“Normally you can’t rely on freshmen too much, but they really came through for us,” Venable said. “We had some good play by seniors and juniors. It all just sort of came together. … We’re hoping to have something like that again this year.”

Collingridge and Woolery split time in the circle and with a schedule that includes a number of weeks with three games, Venable expects that both will see plenty of action.

“They’ve always been good since they were freshmen,” senior co-captain and catcher Jackie Lovelace said. “They’re improved a lot over the summer, so I think we’re going to be pretty good this year.”

Cooper and junior co-captain/shortstop Ciara Ortiz anchor an infield that includes sophomore third baseman Gracie Boyd and sophomore first baseman Kaitlyn Rust.

“We’re expecting a good season from them,” Venable said.

Junior Heidi Davis is back in center field along with sophomore Mya Fegler, who is slated for right field. Collingridge or Woolery usually plays left field.

Edmonds-Woodway lost both of their league match-ups with Meadowdale, which went 24-3 overall last year. The players on both sides know each other well from select ball.

“We’re close friends with a lot of the girls,” Cooper said. “It’s fun for me to play against them because I’ve played with them since I was really little. When you play a good team, it’s always super motivational. … I’m sure it’ll be a really interesting match-up.”

Venable sees definite advantages to going up against such a strong team as the Mavericks.

“We always look forward to playing them,” he said. “This way we can sort of judge how we’re doing by where we play them.”

Coming up short of back-to-back state tournament appearance was disappointing for the Warriors but not totally unexpected, given the number of freshmen on last year’s team.

“We had high expectations,” Cooper said. “But we also understood last year our team was really young and they did not have any experience on varsity until that season. So I’m proud of us and how far we got last year. It makes me really excited this year. It’s pretty much the entire returning starting lineup. They have all seen high pressure, high speed varsity games. I think it’ll be a good season.”

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