By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– Santiam brings back a plethora of experience from last season’s 8-6. 2A Culminative Week Playoff softball team.
They return the Dodge sisters of MaKenna and McKayla, Grace Lindemann, Maddy Forste, Cassidy Olson, Keitlyn Thuston, Kacey Solus and Shania Katlong. Plus, they add the addition of Savannah Stanley as they have 33
“In my four years I don’t think I had more than 19 signed up, so this is awesome,” laughed Greg Grenbemer. “We’re pretty excited. Three out of the last four years we’ve made it to the playoffs. Brining back seven girls with Varsity experience and adding a few of the new ones. I think we’re going to be pretty competitive.
“(Athletic Director and assistant softball coach) Clint (Forste) has put together a pretty competitive schedule for us. We’re going to play Amity and North Douglas to start with and a tough conference.”
Amity, North Douglas, Waldport, St. Paul in non-league will present tough challenges before they enter a 2A/1A League season that features Sheridan, Kennedy and Central Linn.
And Grenbemer points to the seniors like a Lindemann, a Forste and Olson. Olson is injured but was in practice helping out, supporting and helping to guide the younger girls along as they hope to make it back to the postseason this Spring.
“With her ACL she will not be able to play. But she’s here everyday helping and been a great inspiration and really going to help these girls understand what it means to be a Varsity player,” Grenbemer said of Olson. “It’s really nice to have Seniors who are really open to helping. They’re seniors, they know what it’s like, so it’s nice. It makes us coaches job a lot easier.”
“It’s my last year and a few of our seniors last year’s, so I think it’s going to be important especially because we only got three whole years. The chemistry of our team has been really good, and we have a lot of new girls…and being able to pick up where we left off last year will be huge to build upon from that,” adds Lindemann.
McKenna Dodge has improved pointed Grenbemer and Lindemann, putting in the work during the few pitcher-catcher workouts. Stanley will be a solid alternative in the circle if they need to work in a fresh arm this season this year.
A good one-two punch for the Wolverines as they start the season.
“(Dodge) has gotten a lot better. A lot stronger, a lot more confident. It’s tough to be a starting pitcher as a freshman, especially in our league, but she guided us to the State Tournament,” Grenbemer said of Dodge. “I’m expecting big things out of her this year and adding Savannah this year. Having that one-two pitch will be pretty nice.”
Grenbemer also points to a third arm that was throwing during Tuesday’s practice in the auxiliary gym as Santiam went inside to work, getting away from the rain in freshman arm Boston Flores. A promising arm that could see some action this year points Grenbemer as the Wolverines are schedule to start the season at St. Paul March 15 before traveling to Amity on March 16 to start the season.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald