High school softball starts off hot

Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 07:00
Chugiak, Eagle River High squads fielding six games each in opening week

It will be pre-season to mid-season in one week, or nearly so, as the Eagle River and Chugiak teams play six games this week to open the 2014 High School fastpitch softball schedule. The Wolves and Mustangs square off against one another this Saturday, 10:45 a.m. at Albrecht Field 1.

Chugiak varsity coach Jim Huber said that in light of the onslaught, he chose to give the team last weekend off.

The coach said things have been looking good in practices.

“Really good,” he said, adding that he was surprised the preseason had slid by as quickly as it had.

Although the team recently has yet to hold a single outdoor practice, Huber said he has been pleased with the skills developed inside.

“We are pretty solid everywhere. We have a good all-around softball team,” said the coach, pleased with the team’s overall speed.

“It’s important for us to get off to a good start. Every game counts,” Huber noted.

The scheduling of the double-header on April 26 may prove problematic as it is Chugiak High’s Prom. With the beauty appointments for both hair and nails, he said the team could be short some key players.

“I told them I would do their hair for them after the game. I didn’t get any takers,” he said with a laugh.

With the wealth of games before them, Huber said girls have ample opportunities to earn starting positions.

“Right now, I don’t have a set starting lineup. Some of the girls are interchangeable,” he said.

Yet, actual games on the regulation fields with live pitching and real game scenarios will prove a good evaluation tool.

“The cream rises to the top,” he said.


Eagle River softball

Eagle River coach Charley Peyton said the program is already successful after a grass roots effort yielded the Wolves with enough players for varsity and JV teams.

“The girls put up posters asking for additional players to come out for the team – and they did,” he said.

Eagle River currently lists 11 varsity players and 13 JV members, but Peyton will float a couple players for each game as allowed.

Peyton said the team had their first outdoor practice Saturday morning.

“It was good for our players to see how the ball bounces when it is not on a gym floor,” he added.

Even with six weeks of indoor practice, Peyton said he has been very pleased.

“Our new girls have come along well – they are very coachable,” said Peyton, working on developing pitchers for the JV team specifically.

The Wolves have only three seniors, in members Shannon Jones (pitcher), Mikaela Dean (utility, SS, OF) and Alex Denny (2nd base, utility).

“We should be at least as good as we were last year. We have great team chemistry this year,” he stated.

Peyton said he hopes that the additional players will continue to develop the program.

“It’s a matter of competing for the athlete’s time – and they only have so much of that,” he added. Some potential players had opted to be involved in travel teams in other sports.

Among the eight area-wide high schools, only Bartlett doesn’t have a junior varsity team, Peyton reported.

Eagle River’s six varsity games include Bartlett, Mon.; West, Wed.; Bartlett at Bartlett, Thurs.; Skyview at Bartlett, Fri., and Dimond (9 a.m.), Chugiak (10:45 a.m.), Saturday.

Chugiak’s half-dozen games include Service, Mon.; Dimond, Wed.; Homer (4 p.m.) and Skyview (7:30 p.m.) Fri.; and East (9 a.m.), Eagle River (10:45 a.m.), Sat. Games are at 5:45 p.m. and at Albrecht Field unless otherwise noted.

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