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Head coach talks priorities for new Warden softball season

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | March 8, 2024 1:30 AM

WARDEN — Warden Softball Head Coach Randy Wright shared some of the ways he and his team are approaching the new softball season. 

“We've got five seniors,” Wright said. “They've been around, they're all starters. So we got players coming back, we’re just trying to fill a couple of holes, actually just trying to find another outfielder, but we'll come up with somebody.”

Wright talked about who he sees as leading the team this season.

“All the seniors, they're pretty much leader players. In center field we’ve got Brianna Martinez, she’s always been a good lead-off hitter and produces a lot of runs, good power. Emma Cox, she's back and she'll be in the circle,” he said. “She's a senior also, she'll be playing college ball next year, so hopefully she's working hard … Aliza Leinweber, she’s been our catcher the whole time, so she’ll catch this season. She just got done with basketball, so she’s getting her softball legs on.”

The team went far last season, Wright said. 

“We got high ranked, we just didn't do well in the state tournament,” he said. “But yeah, we did really well.”

Wright said that this season he will focus more on the mental side of the sport. 

“(I’m) trying to get the mental side going a little bit stronger, mentally and physically. They all know how to play. They can play, they’re experienced,” Wright said. “The other one is Sierra Campos. I'm moving her to shortstop and she's making the transition really well. She’s always been an outfielder but she's doing really well in short. They all play summer ball, so they’re experienced … Valerie Rodriguez is our outfielder and she's another senior. So there are five seniors out there who have been playing together since they were little girls on the same team, so we’ve got that. I mean, that helps a lot, when you’ve got the experience.”

Wright also highlighted some up-and-coming players.

“I got a pitcher, a freshman pitcher. She’s physically strong and she's been doing really well. She spent a lot of time in her offseason working on it. We'll see when we get her on the mound,” he said. “I think she'll do well. She's got a really good work ethic. Her name is Lindsey Grubb … I think she's an up-and-comer; after we lose this senior class, I think we’ll lean on her. You’ve got to have a good pitcher. You don't have to dominate but you’ve got to have somebody that can be pretty decent for you out there.”

Another focus this season is defense, Wright said. 

“We've been working a lot on defense. The team, we’re pretty good hitters, always have been, so we're working harder on defense, I think the defensive side is more our strategy, I guess if you want to call it that,” he said. “We have to put a little emphasis on it.”

Confidence is another priority.

“If they can believe in themselves, it helps every aspect of what they do out there. It’s easy to play teams that aren't as experienced,” Wright said. “You need to know when you go against the big dogs that you can stand there right with them. So I’ve scheduled a few games this year that'll be good for that … So those are the kind of games that will make us better. I want to stand up to teams like that.”

Wright said the number of students signed up isn’t as high as he would like it.

“Between the two teams right now, we’ve got 20 and I'm trying to get the girls to get friends out. We're still early,” he said. “20 is not a good number to count on. A couple more would be nice.”

Wright also emphasized that a “successful” season is a subjective term.

“It's not always the wins that make you successful, so I just want to make sure that they've learned to have good work ethic and that they have fun with it and that it's a good experience for them,” Wright said. “That makes a successful season. Winning titles and stuff is awesome, but you know, the other part is also important. I would say the part I like about the girls I've been coaching for years is we don't have to worry about their grades, they’re really good students and that even makes it that much better.”

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com. Download the Columbia Basin Herald app on iOS and Android.

Warden Softball Schedule

March 26 - vs Liberty Christian (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

April 9 - at Cle Elum-Roslyn (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

April 13 - at Adna (doubleheader) - 11 a.m.

April 22 - at Tri-Cities Prep (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

April 26 - vs Columbia (Burbank) (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

April 27 - vs Okanogan (doubleheader) - 11 a.m.

April 30 - vs Royal (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

May 3 - at River View (doubleheader) - 3 p.m.

May 10 - at Mabton - 3 p.m.

    Warden Softball Head Coach Randy Wright, left, watches as Warden High School Varsity players practice pitching and batting on the diamond behind the high school.
 
 
    A pitcher for the Warden High School Varsity Softball team pitches the ball during a regular practice Tuesday evening.
 
 
    A player standing on first base throws the ball during Warden High School Softball practice.
 
 
    Current Warden High School senior Aliza Leinweber bats during the 2022 softball season.