Sequim fastpitch head coach Mike McFarlen rarely pulls punches. This spring is no exception, particularly when it comes to chances his defending Olympic League co-champs will have another solid season.
“There are no secrets. They know.”
They, being the other teams in the Olympic League. The knowledge is that seven starters from a team that placed fourth at the state 2A tourney last year — and several starters who helped win the whole thing in 2011 — are back on the diamond. “We’re steps ahead,” McFarlen says, noting the majority of his lineup played club softball during the summer months.
As good as Sequim was last spring — 14-2 in league play — McFarlen believes this team is better.
Back on the field is all-league first-team center fielder Rylleigh Zbaraschuk. The senior headed to play for the University of Washington next year hit .457 with six home runs and 24 RBIs from her leadoff spot in 2012.
Also back is first-team all-league first baseman Alexas Besand, who hit .476, drove in 23 runs and had an on-base percentage of .551 last spring. Also back is all-league honorable mention catcher Bailey Rhodefer and slugging infielder Hannah Grubb.
Four-year starting pitcher Demiree Briones is gone to graduation, but junior Makayla Bentz is back; she was 8-1 with 58 strikeouts and a 2.62 earned run average. Melissa Lewis is the Wolves’ No. 2 starter.
If the Wolves have any weak spot, McFarlen says, it’s playing down to the competition.
“If we can play every game they way they can play, we’ll go a long way,” McFarlen says.
Other top teams in the Olympic League, he says, should include North Kitsap, North Mason and possibly a revamped Port Angeles squad. And while the Sequim coach already has his eyes set on another strong finish at the state tourney, he says his young charges didn’t point to that for one of their preseason goals.
“Their (goals) were be a complete team, win league and what happens, happens,” he said.
The Wolves opened the season with a non-league game at 4A Kentlake in Kent on March 13.