Thunder Mountain High School rosters a deep softball team this year, and though expectations run high at Falcons practice, the young squad isn’t quite sure what they’re capable of just yet.
TMHS’ season opens this weekend with a pair of important conference games at Ketchikan High School.
A trio of seniors lead the Falcons and have been tasked with defining a winning squad out of a large group of freshmen and sophomores coming off successful Midnight Suns careers.
Seniors Tracy Bourassa (second base), Taylor Beardslee (pitcher) and Michaela Harp (pitcher and utility player), see a lot of potential in their young squad, but aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch.
Harp believes the team has more depth than she’s ever seen before.
“We have a really strong team this year. We have a strength in everything with batting, running, fielding, and we all get along real well,” she said. “As of right now our goal is to beat Kayhi in this series. We’re taking it game by game.”
Bourassa backed up Harp’s analysis: “In every position we have two people that can play that position. So if somebody gets hurt, we have somebody else that can fill that spot.”
“I think we have a really good infield this year,” Beardslee added. “Everybody knows whether or not they should be going for a ball or backing up.”
The Falcons went 5-1-19 last year. The girls may be ascending the ladder in the Southeast Conference, however, as they won their first ever conference games in 2015. Harp says those wins — 11-10 over Kayhi and 15-7 over Sitka High School — built their confidence coming into the 2016 season. This year the Falcons’ sights are set on eight wins; they believe that could be enough to earn them a trip to the state tournament.
Coach Jorge Cordero is excited to see how his team has improved since last year’s benchmark.
“We’re excited to start and see what we have. The freshmen are really experienced,” he said. “I think the chemistry is one of the strengths we have. They get along well. Our defense seems solid. On paper we look really good.”
Cordero hopes that the Falcon’s missing piece — their hitting — will fall into place this year.
“Our hitting, we still don’t know what we have, and that was part of our problem last year, so we are hoping that we’ve made some strides toward that,” Cordero said. ”We’re eager to get started and see where we are with that. During practice they hit really good, they hit hard and hopefully that will translate to the game. If that happens then we have a good chance.”
The girls say they are spending more time talking about and preparing for the strengths of their conference opponents, and though the team is young, they have enough experience to compete with the rest of the Southeast Conference.
“It’s good competition, it always has been,” Cordero said. “So, we have to be prepared for that. Ketchikan, Sitka and (Juneau-Douglas High School) all have good teams. We feel like we can compete with them this year more than we ever have, so we’ll see.”
Though on her last year with the team, senior Michaela Harp thinks that Falcons softball has a bright future.
“After this year, when they (the younger players) see how we all work together, then they’ll be able to follow through and make (the team) even stronger,” she said. “When they hit their senior year, those will be some games to watch.”