Defense will be key for Fortuna girls in 2019

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Ray Hamill/ – Pitcher Jackie Duncan is one of several key seniors back for the Fortuna Huskies in 2019.

By Ray Hamill — Defense is going to be key for the Fortuna Huskies in softball this spring.

The Fortuna girls got the season off to a flying start with a 16-6 win at Middletown last weekend, and will be looking for more of the same when they travel for the Cloverdale tournament, which is scheduled to get under way on Friday.

With several seniors back from last season’s 12-11-1 team, the Huskies will feature plenty of experience throughout the lineup, and should get some solid pitching from senior Jackie Duncan.

They also feature a handful of big bats, including a pair of sophomores, Renee Metz and Lorelei Martinez, who each got the season off to an impressive start against Middletown.

The Huskies’ success this season, however, could depend on one other aspect of the team’s play.

“As long as we can play defense and not commit a lot of errors, we should be in a lot of ball games,” head coach Eric Helms said. “I believe our bats are pretty strong this year and I think we’ll be able to score some runs.”

As with every softball team, pitching will be key, and Duncan brings an experienced hand to the circle, while giving the Huskies some consistency.

“She’s pretty stoic and she doesn’t get bothered easily,” Helms said. “You know what you’re going to get with Jackie.”

A core group of experienced seniors also includes Paige Johnson, who will play first and provide a dangerous bat, along with Mollie Sager and Jessica Bernal, who will each start in the outfield.

Behind the plate, catcher Lexy Roby is also expected to provide some experience and leadership, as is third baseman Brooklyn Hurte. 

Johnson and Sager each had big defensive plays in the opener, as did junior Abbie Edgar.

Other juniors expected to play a major role this season include Olivia Sanchez, who will back up Duncan in the pitcher’s circle as well as play some middle infield and centerfield, and Morgan Murray, who will also switch between middle infield and centerfield.

Metz and Martinez each saw action as freshmen, and it showed with their impressive start at the plate last weekend.

Devin Butcher is another sophomore who is likely to see plenty of playing time.

“I love this group,” Helms said. “They come ready to work, they get down to business, they’re very coachable, and they’re eager to learn and go out there and try their best.”

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