The ides of March signal the start of the spring softball season, as El Molino and Analy teams prepare for what should be a competitive campaign.
While the Tigers have yet to play a game, the Lions have already logged a pair of pre-league outings, falling to Justin Siena (10-5) and St. Helena (12-0).
The Lions are coming off a strong 12-11 season in 2019 under the guidance of coach Steve Newcomb, finishing their first season in the North Bay League Redwood Division tied for second at 7-3 to qualify for the league and NCS playoffs.
The Lions return seven players to this year’s squad, including five sophomores who figure to benefit from a season of varsity experience.
“I have a very young team this year, with five sophomores and at least three new freshmen on the team,” Newcomb said. “My goals are the same as last year; hopefully we can be above .500 and come in second place in league.”
Filling out the varsity roster for the Lions are seniors Natalie Alberigi (captain), Grace St. Marie, Jaiden Phillips, juniors Rachel Sierra, Yasmin Sierra and Celina Ortega, and sophomores Bella Gaab (captain), Ahnicka Kjaer, Katelynn Tourady, Madi Hodgdon, Peyton Hamner and Taylor Carter and freshmen Julz Schulz, Sophia Nebel and Calia Jones.
The Lions (0-2) will host Novato in the first home game on Tuesday, March 3, (after press time) and entertain Fort Bragg on Thursday, March 5 at 4 p.m. El Mo will visit Cloverdale next Tuesday, March 10 at 4 p.m.
Lady Tigers ready to roll
Few softball programs can match the success of the Lady Tigers in the past two-plus decades under veteran coach Nick Houtz, and 2020 should be more of the same.
The Tigers are coming off their first season competing in the tough North Bay League Oak Division in 2019, compiling a third place league mark of 5-5 to earn a spot in the NBL tournament. The team went on to score a first-round win over Acalanes in the NCS playoffs before finishing the season with a record of 11-13-1.
Analy returns nine varsity veterans to this year’s squad, including a group of players that are long on both talent and experience.
Heading the list of returnees are seniors, including outfielder Cameron Cordoza and third baseman Chloe Hadrich. Juniors include utility players Olivia Franceschi, Cheyenne Reaney, Emma Bowen, Lizzie Hoffman and Analaya Campo; sophomore outfielder Caitlin Caughie, utility player Navella Guerra, Callie Courts and Elliot Gorath. The lone freshman is utility player Bailey Courts.
Analy figures to battle league powers Rancho Cotate, Ukiah and Montgomery for the upper echelon in league, with Windsor and Maria Carrillo not far behind in a very balanced Oak Division.
At the time of this writing, Analy was preparing to host Novato in the season opener on March 2, followed by a Thursday, March 5 home tilt with Tamalpais. The Tigers will entertain Marin Catholic next Wednesday, March 11. All games start at 4 p.m.