With Dortch graduated, and Reed returning a strong core of five seniors, the Raiders are hoping to be one of the teams to beat this spring.
“We’ve got five seniors and they all get along. We’ve got great, great senior leadership,” Reed softball coach Jon Wunder said. “In girls sports, chemistry is everything. Right now, it looks like we’ve got really good chemistry.“
Ace pitcher Shivaun Landeros will anchor that group of Reed seniors. Landeros is also a strong two-way threat. Last year she batted .406, scored 32 runs and drove in 19 RBI.
“We fully expect her to carry the load this year,” Wunder said. “She’s worked hard all offseason. Every time I drove by here, she was out here working out. I expect big things from Shivaun.”
Her battery mate, senior catcher Makaela Moore, returns to her spot behind the plate.
Senior infielders Andi Lee and Cori Gammon will be back at third and second base respectively, and Hannah Martini will roam the outfield.
Reed has four of its five first team all-league honorees from last year returning this season. Moore, Landeros, Lee and junior outfielder Mary Dettling all received first-team selections.
Dettling led the team in most offensive categories. Her .452 batting average, .517 on-base percentage, .625 slugging percentage, 47 hits, 34 runs, 27 RBI and eight doubles were all tops on the Blue and Gold.
A pair of Raiders second teamers are also back, Gammon and sophomore Megan Dettling.
Of Reed’s 14 players, 11 are returners. The only everyday starter Reed graduated from a year ago was standout pitcher Destinee Levesque. Tyler Sumpter also did not come back due to a stress fracture she suffered during the basketball season. However, Wunder believes junior Danaya Thompson will do a good job manning first base in place of Sumpter.
Another new face in the infield will be Laura Frost. A utility player last season, Frost will be the starting shortstop.
“Based on what I saw Saturday, that is a great move,” Wunder said. “She did really well.”
Joining Mary Dettling and Martini in the outfield will be junior Lindsay Yearman and sophomore Megan Dettling. Megan Dettling will also see time in the pitcher’s circle.
“I would match our speed in the outfield with anybody,” Wunder said.
But it’s the pitching that has Wunder especially excited. Newcomer Jacquelin Sertic pitched eight of 14 innings during Saturday’s scrimmages. The sophomore allowed two hits and struck out nine.
The Raiders have a fourth pitcher in sophomore Marriah Levesque, the younger sister of Destinee.
“We have four kids who could probably pitch for just about anyone around here,” Wunder said.
Wunder expects to be challenged by Manogue, Spanish Springs, Damonte Ranch and Carson for the regional title, much like last season.
It’s not just the potential for success that has Reed excited for this softball season, but a new field is currently being constructed on the Reed High campus. Work on the dugouts started Monday and progress is coming along. Wunder said weather permitting, the team will host games on the field in mid-April.
Reed will compete at the Victory Pre-season Tournament in Sacramento this week. The Raiders open the tournament Thursday night at 6:45 p.m. against Oakmont. On Friday, they will take on Righetti at 5 p.m. and Spanish Springs at 6:45 p.m.
Wunder believes the trip will be a good team-bonding experience.
“It’s early but we’ve got great team chemistry,” Wunder said. “It starts with the seniors, and we’ve got a great group of seniors. I think the younger kids feed off that. They’re very helpful. They look forward to Sacramento. It’s a great opportunity for them all to get to know each other. I tell them we’re only going to go as far as you take us as a group. If we have in-fighting, then we’re going to have problems. We’re not seeing that.”
Reed’s league opener is at Douglas on March 15th.