Sports

Fresh start, talented newcomers for Mount Si softball program

Maura Murphy drills during practice in early March. The junior is a starting shortstop. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Maura Murphy drills during practice in early March. The junior is a starting shortstop.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

A small core of veterans round out a big freshman component of the Mount Si fastpitch team’s 2011 squad.

Senior returners include catcher Danielle Massengill, left fielder Kassidy Maddux and third basewoman Carly Wiedenbach. Also back is junior shortstop Maura Murphy and sophomores Lauren Smith and Miranda Rawlings.

Likely freshman starters include sisters Nikki and Jennifer Carroll, Celine Fowler and Lauren Padilla.

Maddux sees the Wildcats coming together as a team in 2011.

“We have talent that we can build on,” she said. “The freshmen are cool, they have a lot of talent. There’s a lot of them.”

“We can be a better team this year,” added Rawlings.

For these girls, a state appearance is always the goal. Maddux said little victories will have to come first, including league playoffs and districts.

Shortstop starter

At shortstop, Murphy will be a key piece of the Lady Wildcats’ defense. The 17-year-old plays during the summer on the Puyallup-based Washington Lady Hawks club team.

As a ninth grader, “I played all over the place,” but as a sophomore, “we kind of shook things up, and that’s where I fit in,” she said.

To Murphy, the new team seems strong so far. However, she wants a greater sense of camaraderie compared with past seasons.

“With the great freshmen talent that we have, we’re going to go places,” she said. “I’d love to make it to state. We’ve been a game off every season.”

With the newcomers, “we need to take them under our wing. They already have great fundamental skills. We can show them the ropes, work with them every day. By the end of the season, we’ll be ready to go.”

Murphy tries to lead by example.

“I’ll coach, but I don’t want to be in-your-face all the time,” she said. “Hopefully, my little bit of suggestions will help.”

Murphy said her position isn’t the most important on the field, “but it’s a place of leadership.”

She sees herself in a partnership with catcher Danielle Massengill.

“She starts everything off, I relay it to everybody else,” Murphy said.

When an opposing player is at bat, a number of considerations race through the shortstop’s head.

“If I know them, I’ll know their tendencies,” Murphy said. “I’ll look at size, I’ll look at how they swing. (That) can tell you where the ball’s going to go, what the play is going to be.

“Their speed is a gauge,” she added. “If they’re fast, we’ll have less time. It’ll tell me if I have a double play opportunity.”

On a personal level, Murphy is drawn to softball’s mental side.

“If your head’s not in it, then it’s really difficult. It’s a game where you have to learn a lot,” she said. “There’s always new stuff. It really challenges your mind. That’s why I stay in it.”

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