By Ray Hamill — The College of the Redwoods men’s basketball team isn’t the only Corsairs squad featuring a large group of local H-DNL all-stars.
On Friday afternoon a very new-look CR softball teams opens its season at Santa Rosa, and there’s a buzz about this team around the community as well.
As there should be.
This year’s team features two standouts from the 2019 McKinleyville history-setting treble-winning team, as well as a pair of former Big 5 all-league selections from both Eureka and Fortuna.
And the one thing most of these players have in common — aside from their Mad River MIST background — is their smarts when it comes to the game.
“This team’s softball IQ is as good as any team I’ve had in the past,” longtime head coach Maggie White said. “And that’s what I’m most excited about. They know the game.”
The Corsairs also feature a few key returning players from last year, including pitcher Lindsey Scott, who is expected to be the Corsairs’ ace this season and will start at Santa Rosa.
The former Eureka pitcher will be joined in the infield this year by fellow Loggers Sadie Wilkinson at catcher and Karyn Jensen at first and third base.
Jensen, a power hitter who will bat third in the lineup, will also see time in the outfield, where she will start against Santa Rosa.
Wilkinson will bat clean-up.
Another key returning player will be 2019 all-conference selection Amy Reyes at shortstop, a talented all-around athlete who also is an all-conference selection in soccer.
Former Mack all-stars Grace Rosebrook and Jaycee Morais will make their collegiate debuts at second and third base, respectively, after playing a pivotal role in leading the Panthers to an North Coast Section championship a year ago.
Morais will also see some time in the pitcher’s circle this season, as will former St. Bernard’s standout Calissa Stokesberry, who will also play third base.
Two former Fortuna all-league players will also be in the lineup this season, Paige Johnson at first and Juliana Ortega-Miranda at third, the latter of whom will join the team after basketball.
Samantha Caughie out of Santa Rosa will start in center field, while Shawnau Johnson from Frazier Park near Bakersfield will start in right field.
Clear Lake’s Destiny Peters will also see time in the outfield.
Friday’s game, which will be followed by a doubleheader at Chabot on Saturday, will give the players some much-needed game action, and an opportunity to get outdoors after practicing indoors all but twice for the past few weeks.
Preparation, however, has been going well and White likes what’s she’s seen from her players.
“We’ve had a lot of really good practices,” she said. “They’re working hard and I feel real good about everything.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
The lineup is expected to feature plenty of balance, with some speed on the bases and some power hitters.
“I think the top of the lineup is as good as anybody,” White said. “And our defense behind the pitching they’ve been making plays.”
The weekend games will be streamed live on he team’s Facebook page.
Friday’s game is set for 1 p.m., with Saturday’s opener scheduled for 11 a.m.