Knappa softball is under new management in 2010. Stan Sporseen takes over for Joe Osario, who led the Loggers to the state playoffs a year ago - their first appearance since 2002.

And Sporseen has plenty to work with as Knappa returns four all-league players and much of their roster from 2009.

THE LEAGUE

League champion Corbett lost a few key players to graduation (Brandi Jacques and NWL Player of the Year Maggie Young), but the Cards return more all-leaguers, including Zoe Young, Krissy Hanes, Lindsey Meaey, Catherine Jones and Kayla Handley.

That should be enough to make Corbett the league favorite once again, while the Loggers - along with Nestucca and Portland Christian - will battle for second.

"Corbett will be the team to beat," Sporseen said. "They have a good pitcher and they're pretty deep. Nestucca has their pitcher back, so they will be competitive."

For the third year in a row, Country Christian canceled softball just before the start of the season.

With just five teams and 12 league games, "every game will be crucial," Sporseen said.

THE PLAYERS

Pitching accounts for most of the success in softball, so the Loggers are in good shape, with first-team all-league thrower Dani Donayri returning for her senior year.

"Obviously we have a pretty good pitcher," Sporseen said. "She'll be the second-best in the league, I'm guessing. If we can field the ball behind her and stay out of big innings ... we should do well. She's not going to give up many runs."

On the receiving end of Donayri's pitches will be junior Addie Nichols, while the infield starters will be senior Cassie West at first, junior Coriann Roos at second, senior Kate Shear at third and junior Leslie Hebert at shortstop, another important position in softball.

"I think Leslie Hebert can be as good a shortstop as there is in the league," Sporseen said. "She attacks the ball real well and fields everything hit to her."

The outfield includes sophomores Hannah Cameron in right, Kelsey Stanovich in center, and possibly Lisa Santilli in left.

Other contributors could include McKayla Fuller, Liz Mason and exchange student Mia Rasmussen.

"We'd like to shore up our infield and get the bottom of the lineup to hit a little," Sporseen said. "Those are our biggest worries right now.

"I think we'll hit the ball fine," he said. "I'm most worried about our defense. They're coming along, but fielding grounders in a gym is a little different than out on a natural field."

KNAPPA SOFTBALL

Coach: Stan Sporseen, first year

2009: 11-8 (6-6 NWL)

Playoffs: Defeated Nestucca (11-6) in league playoff; lost to Central Linn (7-0) in state playoff.

All-League losses: None

All-League returners: Kate Shear, 1st team; Dani Donyari, 1st team; Cassie West, 1st team; Addie Nichols, 2nd team.

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