High School Sports

Prep Focus: Few weak spots in Bears’ fastpitch lineup

When the No. 9 hitter in the batting order is hitting better than .400, you know the weak spots are few and far between.

Such is the case for the powerful and effective lineup of Olympia High School’s undefeated fastpitch team.

At 12-0 after Wednesday’s 10-0 six-inning win over South Kitsap, the team’s fifth consecutive shutout, the team batting average is .397. Seven players with at least 24 official at-bats are hitting better than .390.

And Rene Gutierrez, the Bears’ No. 9 hitter, is hitting .480 (12 for 25) after going 1-for-1 on Wednesday in her only official at-bat (with two walks).

Said Olympia coach Matt Loes: “She puts it in play with two strikes, and they can’t get her out.”

After Gutierrez is center fielder Erin Roloff (.500, tied for second on the team with 18 hits) in the leadoff spot.

But as impressive as the offense has been, Loes also praises the defense, which until Wednesday had a streak of three straight errorless games and sported a .950 fielding percentage.

“We stress defense a lot,” Loes said. “Stay loose, but stay focused.”

Just part of a winning combination of a first-place and undefeated fastpitch team.

GROWING PAINS

When track and field athletes compete at the prestigious Oregon Relays at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field, it tends to bring out their best.

For River Ridge High’s state record-setting 4x100 relay team, however, a 42.72-second time last Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, was mitigated by the disqualification of the all-senior quartet of Michael Key, Chris Leiba, Ika Morton and Dejuan Frye, a recent Iowa signee, for a zone violation.

“The coolest things about being in Eugene,” Hawks coach Phil Lonborg said, “is they showed up (Monday) with their work pants on because they know they’re not there yet.”

Last year, the group of then-juniors set a 2A state meet record of 41.49 in capturing the school’s second consecutive 4x100 state title. River Ridge, with Leiba, Morton and Frye, along with Joseph Wollor, also won state in 2013 (42.37).

Frye (200) and Morton (long jump) finished second in their individual events at the Oregon Relays, and Frye also was third in the 400. Yelm’s James Rodeman won the 110 hurdles in a personal-best time of 14.57 seconds.

COACHES TEAM UP FOR CROHN’S AND COLITIS

Olympia High School coaches Bill Beattie (football) and Laurie Creighton (volleyball), and Tumwater High coaches Sid Otton (football) and Tana Otton (volleyball) will headline a Crohn’s and Colitis pancake feed at 9:30 a.m. May 2 at Tumwater High School commons. Cost is $10 with all money raised going toward the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in support of the annual Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis walk.

KELLER HEADLINES WIAA CLASS

Lacey native Kasey Keller headlines the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s 16-member 2015 Hall of Fame Class. Keller is a 1988 North Thurston High School graduate and former All-American at the University of Portland, played 17 professional seasons in Europe, and 102 games for the United States men’s soccer team from 1990-2007 before returning to the Northwest to play for the Seattle Sounders FC (2009-’11). Keller now works as a Sounders broadcast analyst.

ELSEWHERE

A Black Hills parent group made a presentation at a March 26 Tumwater School Board meeting to change the name of Tumwater District Stadium in favor of Pioneer Stadium. The football and soccer stadium, shared by Black Hills and Tumwater high schools, is located at Tumwater High. District spokeswoman Kim Howard said there hasn’t been any follow-up made by the district since the meeting. ... Timberline football coach Nick Mullen announced five seniors who will play collegiate football next fall: Seth Hyatt (Fort Lewis University), Andrew Knox (Whitworth), Stevie Cleveland (Linfield), Andrew Paquin (Lewis and Clark) and Kyler Hawkins (Pacific).

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