Dan Jones"> North on top - Varsity 541 - MailTribune.com - Medford, OR

    North on top

    SOH favorite Tornado without Becker, but still plenty strong
  • Softball coaches in the Southern Oregon Hybrid can't exactly sleep easy at the thought of facing North Medford, but at least one consistent nightmare has been put to bed.
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      2014 Predicted Finish
      Coaches Poll
      (First-place votes in parentheses)
      1. North Medford (4) 16
      2. Roseburg (1) 13
      3. Grants Pass 10
      4. Crater 6
      5. South Medford 5
      2013 Final ...
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      2014 Predicted Finish

      Coaches Poll

      (First-place votes in parentheses)

      1. North Medford (4) 16

      2. Roseburg (1) 13

      3. Grants Pass 10

      4. Crater 6

      5. South Medford 5

      2013 Final SOH Standings


      W L W L

      North Medford 12 0 29 2

      Roseburg 22 7 9 3

      Grants Pass 6 6 13 15

      Crater 2 10 9 17

      South Medford 1 11 5 23


      COACH: Mike Mayben (ninth year)

      LAST YEAR: 29-2, 12-0 SOH



      Player Pos Yr.

      Joci Ellis SS Sr.

      Katie Ramsay C Sr.

      Maddie Gates 2B Sr.

      Grace Jovanovic RF Jr.

      Alexis Barkwell P/1B Sr.

      Keisha Williams CF Sr.


      Sarah Koistinen 1B Sr.

      Janelle Rodgers 1B Jr.

      Megan Cowden 3B Sr.

      Christina Kuykendall 3B Jr.

      Gabby Rosales 3B So.

      Tra Kucera OF So.

      Cassie Campbell OF So.

      Sarah Thomas P So.


      COACH: Tony Campos (12th year)

      LAST YEAR: 22-7, 9-3 SOH



      Player Pos Yr.

      Jacey Conklin 3B/C Jr.

      Jessa Perkinson OF Sr.

      Baylee Wyscaver 2B/SS So.

      Chelsey Luiz OF Sr.


      Hannah Roberts OF/P Sr.

      Mariessa Robles 1B Sr.

      Reggi Cramer OF Sr.

      Jayde McDowell SS/P Jr.

      Alysha Epley 3B/1B Jr.

      Arielle Broomand OF/C Jr.

      Kyndle DelCollo C/3B Jr.

      Ashley Martin P/1B So.

      Bailey Daniels 2B/OF So.

      Justice Ortegon OF So.

      Kaitlyn Smith IF So.

      Alyssa Bohne 3B Fr.


      COACH: Donnie Bellum (third year)

      LAST YEAR: 13-15, 6-6 SOH



      Player Pos Yr.

      Aleah Stevens C Sr.

      Taylor Thomas SS/P Jr.

      Halee Rose 2B Jr.

      Amy Robinson P/1B Jr.

      Stephanie Norrick OF/IF/P Jr.

      Nicole Godwin 3B Jr.

      Danielle Taylor 1B Jr.

      Jadyn Lenard 3B/OF Sr.

      Dalenna Bellum OF So.


      Brielle Doman C Fr.

      Jenaya Wright 1B/OF Fr.

      Jacque Luaders OF So.


      COACH: Chris Arnold (13th year)

      LAST YEAR: 9-17, 2-10 SOH



      Player Pos Yr.

      Alex Craft SS Sr.

      Brie Sheperd 3B/DH Jr.

      Bri Doggett C Sr.

      Dana Lowder 1B Sr.


      Brittany Snyder OF Sr.

      Olivia Ryerson OF Jr.

      Athena Espinosa OF Sr.

      Brittany Hassel P So.

      Sydney Beck P So.

      Tristin Fisher P So.

      Courtney Martin C/OF So.

      Marley Roberts OF Jr.

      Abbi Pearce IF So.

      Simone Turituri 3B So.

      Simone Smurzynski 1B/OF/DH So.


      COACH: Miranda Gillaspie-Smith (fourth year)

      LAST YEAR: 5-23, 1-11 SOH



      Player Pos Yr.

      Tia Garrett C/SS Sr.

      Sara Gartlan OF Sr.

      Brittany Miller CF/SS Sr.

      Rachael Moore 2B/P Jr.

      Hannah Newman P/IF Jr.

      Krystal Williams OF Jr.


      Liz DeVaughn IF Sr.

      Kenzie Vaughn OF Sr.

      Pat Moore P/IF Fr.

      Bailee Tatum UTIL Fr.

      Marissa Tarazon OF Jr.

      Sarah DeVaughn OF Jr.
  • Softball coaches in the Southern Oregon Hybrid can't exactly sleep easy at the thought of facing North Medford, but at least one consistent nightmare has been put to bed.
    Her name is Maryssa Becker.
    The dominant pitcher graduated and plays at Louisville now.
    "I personally think anybody can beat anybody on any given day now," Roseburg head coach Tony Campos said. "It makes it a little more even."
    That said, Campos and the rest of the SOH leaders voted the Black Tornado as the unanimous favorites to claim a fifth straight league crown. Roseburg was second and Grants Pass third, followed by Crater and South Medford.
    The top three from the SOH automatically qualify for the 32-team state bracket, with the remaining teams getting play-in contests.
    Defending Class 6A state champion North has six returning starters, including 2012 conference player of the year Joci Ellis (a senior shortstop), senior catcher Katie Ramsay, senior second baseman Maddie Gates, junior right fielder Grace Jovanovic and senior center fielder Keisha Williams. All those players have received all-league recognition.
    That sixth returner? Senior pitcher Alexis Barkwell, who made the most of her opportunities behind Becker last year en route to second-team all-league honors.
    Ninth-year head coach Mike Mayben said Barkwell is up for the challenge of being the new ace.
    "She is really focused this year," Mayben said. "I think she is excited about it."
    Replacing Becker's leadership is just as big a task as replacing her powerful pitching and hitting, Mayben added.
    "What a lot of people don't realize is what an incredible leadership quality she brought," he said. "That is what we are looking for more than anything, someone to step up and replace that leadership. We have a number of kids who are looking to do that."
    The Black Tornado added three 5A SOH all-league transfers to the mix in senior Megan Cowden (Eagle Point), junior Christina Kuykendall (Ashland) and junior Janelle Rodgers (Eagle Point).
    Senior infielder Sarah Koistinen, sophomore infielder Gabby Rosales, sophomore outfielder Tra Kucera, sophomore outfielder Cassie Campbell and sophomore pitcher Sarah Thomas could also chip in for North, which finished 29-2 last spring. Mayben and his staff will use much of the nonconference season to pin down starters at first base, third base and left field, he said. Rodgers, Koistinen and Thomas are candidates for the spot at first; Kuykendall, Cowden and Rosales for third; and Cowden, Kuykendall and Kucera for the space in left.
    "We have a very veteran group up the middle," Mayben said. "We have a really solid group defensively."
    Ellis is the team's leadoff hitter, with Gates, Jovanovic, Ramsay, Barkwell and Williams also bringing plenty of expertise to the plate.
    At Roseburg, the Indians return starters Jacey Conklin (junior third baseman), Jessa Perkinson (senior center fielder), Baylee Wyscaver (sophomore second baseman) and Chelsey Luiz (senior left fielder).
    Sophomore right-hander Ashley Martin takes over as the squad's ace for Makinna Akers, who graduated.
    The Indians, who advanced to the 6A semifinals last season, also graduated shortstop Megan Larkin, last year's SOH player of the year.
    At Grants Pass, junior Amy Robinson is the team's starting pitcher and will be backed by returners Nicole Godwin (junior third baseman), Halee Rose (junior second baseman) and Jadyn Lenard (senior third baseman/outfielder). Other returners include senior catcher Aleah Stevens, junior shortstop/pitcher Taylor Thomas, versatile junior Stephanie Norrick and sophomore outfielder Dalenna Bellum.
    At Central Point, the Comets bring in a sophomore-heavy group with some experience.
    Senior shortstop Alex Craft and senior first baseman Dana Lowder are the team's top two hitters. Junior Brie Sheperd (third base, designated hitter) and senior catcher Bri Doggett also return.
    Crater is going with three sophomore pitchers: Brittany Hassel, Sydney Beck and Tristin Fisher.
    Comets senior outfielder Athena Espinosa had ACL surgery and moved to Sandy last year, but is back. She was the team's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter before suffering the knee injury in Crater's season opener last year.
    "We have a lot of positions to fill," Crater head coach Chris Arnold said.
    At South Medford, what was once a collection of inexperienced players has evolved into a group with some know-how. The team's returning starters are senior catcher/shortstop Tia Garrett, senior outfielder Sara Gartlan, senior center fielder/shortstop Brittany Miller, junior second baseman/pitcher Rachael Moore, junior pitcher/infielder Hannah Newman and junior outfielder Krystal Williams.
    Senior infielder Liz DeVaughn didn't play last year but has experience at third base.
    Newman recorded the most innings in the circle last spring, with freshman lefty Pat Moore and Rachael Moore also ready.
    The outfield starters are still being finalized, head coach Miranda Gillaspie-Smith said.
    "We had maybe two kids last year who had any varsity experience," Gillaspie-Smith said. "We are out of that situation now."
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt
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