SOFTDAWGS TURN TEN

The University of Washington Softball coach, Teresa Wilson, and her staff have put together the tenth version of the Husky distaff Diamond Dawgs. This team, as the first glance at the roster will tell you, is extremely young, with one senior, three juniors, ten sophomores, and five freshmen. The pitching staff will consist of a sophomore and two freshmen.

This past week, I spent almost four hours watching them work out during their fall practice two-a-days. Let me share my impressions with you. In case future opponents become too complacent, I think it only fair to warn, this Dawg will bark, and this Dawg will bite.

The lone senior is Becky Simpson, the diminutive speedster who was last season's starting right fielder. The juniors include: All Everything shortstop Jaime Clark, who spent the summer starring on the USA Blue team during international competition; Amy Hanson, who last year was thrust into the completely unknown catching position, and who performed far above what was expected; and Traci Tawney, who is a good enough athlete to play either infield or outfield.

The largest group is the sophomore bunch, which has returned looking in great shape and with more confidence for having a year of experience under their belts. The pitcher, superstar Tia "T-Bone" Bollinger, also spent the summer toiling for the USA Blue team and looks to be in fine form, and emerging as a vocal team leader. Starting center fielder Rita Roach returns after spending the summer playing international ball in Puerto Rico. Expect to see her again skipping around the middle of the turf, running down every ball hit that way. Amanda Oleson, last year's starting first baseman, is back, with that picture perfect swing at the plate, and sure handed glove in the field. All Regional playoff selection, RBI producing, Courtney "The Eugene Machine" Jeffries, brings her bat back, and was spraying line drives to all fields as I watched. Callie Bergan was swinging the bat well, and showing off her versatility with smooth, left handed, fielding and throwing from first base. All around super athlete, Megan Owen, who filled in as emergency pitcher last year, can be expected to perform well at any position assigned. Shawna Norris displayed her strong arm from third base, and was very aggressive running the bases. Nicki Holt, Robyn Waddle, and Nicole Wicks all ran the bases well, with Nicole making some picture perfect slides to avoid tags.

I was particularly interested in seeing the newest sled Dawg pups, the freshmen. Pitcher Ashley "The Redding Rocket" Boek, has an unbelievable amount of "POP" on her pitches. This hard throwing right hander will be very intimidating to dig in against, and should complement her fellow freshman pitcher, Leslie Scott, very well. Leslie, the soft-spoken blonde from Edmond, OK, is also a right-hander with a very smooth delivery, and appears to have pinpoint control. Third baseman, Kathy Fiske, from Temecula, CA, exhibited good hands, a strong arm, and a solid swing at the plate. Second baseman, Stephanie Nicholson, from Tucson, AZ, has a great glove, and a smooth stroke from either side of the plate. Kristen Rivera, a superb looking athlete from Perris, CA, appears to be a solid catcher, and has one of the most powerful bats to ever grace the Husky program. At the windup of the workout, I watched Kristen put on an awesome display of long ball. She hit lofty, majestic, drive after drive over the wall. At one point she hit four in a row, and ended with at least ten or twelve. After much needling from her teammates, Jaime followed with an exhibition of her own, and hit even more, with five in a row, including two that soared completely over the scoreboard in left center. As I pointed out, these Dawgs will bark, and will bite.

For those of you not going down to watch the Huskies tree the Bears in Strawberry Canyon, a reunion and tenth anniversary celebration will be held on Saturday, September 29th, at 10:00 am, with a softball game between the 2002 Dawgs and almost all of the previous great stars that made this program one of the finest in all of college athletics. Let's all get out to Husky Softball Stadium and let them know how much we appreciate them. See your favorite stars, old and new, and still have time to view the football game on TV.
Marlin Binger is a softball fanatic that posts under the handle "Bingdawg" on the message boards.

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