By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– Silverton freshman McKenzee Peterson will have her hands cut out for her as Mila Perez is out with a concussion and an arm injury. One of five freshmen joining the Varsity squad this year for longtime Head Coach Ralph Cortez, the freshman knows she’ll have to step it up in the absence of the senior in the short-term.
“I definitely know I’ll have to step it up, try my best and I know if I’m having a bad day, Otyillia (Helley) will come in and hope Mila gets back as soon as possible because we’re going to need her,” Peterson said.
Around her will be a solid core of returners. Marin Bliss, Braezan Henderson, Brylie Parks, Kate Kofstad and Olivia Hickam to name a few of the returners from the Foxes 6-8 Spring season last year. With Peterson and fellow freshman Greyson Gilvinski at shortstop, Cortez hopes and expects a good season out of his squad this year starting with their jamboree Monday up at Glencoe.
“For them to come back out like they did last year and compete like we did, though we were young, we had some young freshmen too…I felt like we’ve done pretty well for being out and knowing at the end of the day having young players,” Cortez says about last season. “Now they’re sophomores, the young kids are sophomores, we got a good group of seniors and now we got a good group of freshmen that we’re looking at competing this year really well. It should be a good year for us this year.”
“We got some new freshmen up and I’m really excited for what’s going to happen this season, and it’s a full-season hopefully,” adds Henderson with a smile.
Henderson knew how difficult it was to play at the Varsity level last Spring as a freshman being a freshman herself. But the experience had helped her become more of a leader at probably the hardest position on the diamond being behind the dish with the goal to build upon it in 2022.
“It taught me how to be more of a leader at a young age, which is really nice and I felt like that made me better as a person and teammate on the field as I got older,” Henderson said. “If we can keep working as a team and with the little things that we can work on, I think we can be pretty good for the next two years that I have.”
For Silverton, their first game of the season will be at Milwaukie Tuesday before they host Crook County Friday going into their Spring Break Tournament on March 21 at Sandy.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald