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Lady Wolves look to recapture title

Staff reports

The motto surrounding the Coleville High School varsity softball team is, “Let’s get it back!”

The Lady Wolves hope to recapture the Class A state title they held in 1996 but relinquished to Smith Valley last year by losing, 5-4, in the championship final. That loss ended a two-year, 31-game winning streak Coleville had against Class A teams and an eight-game winning streak against the rival Bulldogs.

“That was a tough loss to swallow, but it makes for a very interesting season this year since both teams return most of their players,” said Scott Bush, the Wolves’ coach for the past six years.

Coleville returns 16 players from last year’s squad. It lost only Lisa Allen and Johnna Randall to graduation.

“Those are tough shoes to fill since both girls were all-conference performers and four-year starters for us,” Bush said.

Coleville, however, isn’t hurting for top-notch talent this season.

Jamie Walton and Darrah Rich, who have a combined 38-9 record over the last two seasons with all but one of the losses coming to larger-classification schools, are back as perhaps the top pitching duos in the state. Other returning seniors are catcher Nicole Duffie and second baseman Kelly Ferguson. Walton, Rich and Duffie have earned all-conference and all-state honors the last two seasons and Ferguson is a returning all-conference performer.

Adding to the talent pool are returning junior starters Brianna Bryant at third base and Megan Rich, who will play first base this season. Bryant was another 1997 all-conference and all-state honoree for the Wolves.

Other players returning with varsity experience are juniors Tish Cole, Tashina Murphy, Alex Padilla, Brianda Raley and Genny Simpson and sophomores Kourtney Ferguson, Jennifer Masters, Kate Marshall, Shelly Whalen and Erica Reed.

Newcomers are sophomore Adriene Daniels and freshman Lindsey Rudolph, Leanna Casaus, Liz Biskup, Nikki Ringnes and Lanna Vannoy.

Bush said with the talent on the team he expects the Wolves to make a great run at the championship again.

“This is a super position to be in for a coach,” Bush said. “I have a powerful nucleus to build around and experienced players to fill the gaps.”

Bush also said he sees great promise in Rudolph.

“Lindsey has shown in practice that she has the talent and understanding of the game to step right in and help us in a big way. I expect her to assume the duties at shortstop, allowing Jamie and Darrah to anchor the outfield when they are not pitching.”

Bush foresees the other outfield spots will be filled by committee.

“Rather than determine the other spots right now, we will see who is practicing exceptionally well and name those starters at the appropriate times,” Bush said.

Bush is also pleased with the progress of Masters as she learns her new duties as the back-up catcher.

“She had never played the position until we asked her to this year and the way she is taking to it when will be ready to step in after Nicole graduates.”

Bush has coached at Coleville for 11 years in different capacities. He will be assisted by Debie Bush, who will handle the pitchers and catchers, and Kim Dufty, who will also serve as the scorekeeper, statistician and groundskeeper.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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