The future appears bright for Arcata Tigers softball

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Sagen Sarchett is one of three talented seniors on this year’s Arcata team.

By Ray Hamill — Whether or not the Arcata girls are ready to challenge for a league title in 2023 remains to be seen, but the future certainly appears bright for this team.

The Tigers are scheduled to open the new season at Middletown on Saturday, weather permitting, and head coach Steve Sarchett has every reason to fell optimistic about the direction the program is headed.

The team has just three seniors, each of whom is expected to play a key role this spring, with a young lineup around them, including a group of 12 sophomores and freshmen.

“This Arcata team, in two or three years, will be really good,” Sarchett said.

For now, the play of seniors Sagen Sarchett, Morgan Ford and Taylor Appy will be key in determining how far they can go this spring, but all three are among the most talented players in the H-DN.

Sagen Sarchett, who will play at Cal Poly Humboldt next year, will start behind the plate and see time at third, while Ford will see a lot of time in the circle and at shortstop and Appy will likely see time at second and third.

“They’re the epitome of leadership,” the head coach said of the trio, who have been setting the tempo for their younger teammates. “And they’re so smart and they really elevate the play of everyone else.”

The coach also believes that Sagen Sarchett and Appy could be among the best hitters in the H-DN, as could Ford, who also has one of the most reliable gloves in the area.

The team’s success, however, will also hinge on how quickly the new players can adapt to the varsity level.

The roster of 18 includes seven freshmen, including the talented Josie Cunningham, who will play some catcher and shortstop.

“She’s probably the best freshman I’ve seen in a few years,” the head coach said.

Morgan Ford

Her older sister Lily Cunningham is part of a sophomore class that saw plenty of game time a year ago and also includes Jenna Renteria, Taylor Sutherland, Lucia Hernandez, Evelyn McCovey and Toni Diaz.

The seven freshmen also include talented pitcher/outfielder Riley Houston, as well as Peyton Miller, Breann Borghino, Emily McLaughlin, Jessica Kaber and Bella Campbell.

“I’m really impressed with this year’s freshmen class,” Steve Sarchett said. “I really believe we are in a better spot this year than last year. I really believe we can compete.”

Juniors Lexi Alto and Aria Soberanis round out the roster, with Alto likely to “anchor the middle of our lineup,” according to the coach, after spending a lot of time working with former College of the Redwoods and Cal Poly Humboldt standout Hannah Mullen Jones this past offseason.

As for this year’s Big 5, the Arcata coach believes it will be competitive and hopes his players can rise to the occasion and compete with the favorites.

“There’s going to be a lot of parity,” he said. “We’re all going to beat up on each other and it will just take that lucky bounce to win.

“We’re going to be better than last year. You can feel it, and they’e putting in the work like I’ve never seen. Every practice is a great practice and they’re understanding things better than last year.

“Like I tell them, if you give max effort and bring a great attitude, you will succeed. And they expect to win. You can see it in their faces.”

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