By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– First-year Blanchet Catholic Head Softball Coach Ronald Regalado points to a goal that his seniors set forth for this season: Playoffs.
Returning players like Alexis Jensen and Ariel Davila were freshmen when the Cavaliers reached the postseason in 2019, when they lost to Cascade Christian in Medford in the opening round of the 3A postseason. Covid canceled and severely shortened the last two seasons that it left the senior class with one last year, one last crack at making a run at the postseason before graduation this Spring.
“We want to prepare ourselves the best way that we can so we can be ready for playoffs and our goal is to make playoffs as early as we can so we don’t have to worry about it later in the season. So we’ve been pushing ourselves to give our best effort and try as hard as we possibly can,” Jensen said.
This past Spring, the six-week season, was a good learning experience with many of the younger girls having to fill the void left by all the seniors leaving that playoff team and what would’ve been that 2020 team that was canceled days before the season officially kicked off. Jensen, Davila, Abby Weber and Reagan Rasmussen were some of the names who had to step up last season to fill the gaps.
Davila saw action in the circle during their 3-9 campaign with Rasmussen, then a freshman, coming in for a few innings as Blanchet looked to replace Savannah Barchus who graduated and is currently pitching at CSU-East Bay this season.
“I feel like we’re both way better because I feel like we’re very similar, we’re pretty accurate and have a wide array of pitches. We had each other’s backs a lot, so it was really nice to have her,” Davila said of her and Rasmussen. “Just use all of our pitches, I feel like that was really, really important to keep (batters) on their toes.”
And for Regalado, he’s excited for the opportunity to get the program back on its feet and back to contending for the 3A playoffs as it was pre-pandemic as their first game of the season is coming up on March 15 against Gervais and another on March 17 against Jefferson.
“We’re trying to bring everything back up and ready for a full season of no breaks, no anything. Just all gas and no breaks at all,” Regalado starts. “I’ve heard about all these teams out here, I don’t know much about them, but we’re going to try our best and work extra hard and try to out work everyone we can.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald