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Falcons learning to fly

COLFAX HIGH SOFTBALL PREVIEW: With seven sophomores and four freshmen, team may struggle in PVL play
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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The game of softball requires much more than raw skill, which is why Laura Campbell admits her Colfax High squad may have a tough time contending in the Pioneer Valley League this spring. While the Falcons have plenty of athleticism and some skilled players, invaluable game experience at the varsity level is in short supply. “We just have one senior and two juniors that both played JV last year,” Campbell said. “We have seven sophomores and four freshmen. Our practices have been fine — then it’s game time and it’s a little bit like a deer in headlights.” Colfax (2-4) is hoping to improve on last season’s 6-12 record. Cassandra Campbell, the coach’s daughter, is the lone senior and a major presence at shortstop and at the plate. “It definitely helps having her leadership out there,” Laura Campbell said. Fellow basketball player Ashley Scott is also a valuable piece to the puzzle. The sophomore swings a solid left-handed bat and has excellent speed in center field. In the pitcher’s circle, sophomore Randi Anderson returns. She saw a lot of innings last season as a freshman when then-senior Cara Spence was out with an injury. Anderson tossed a two-hit shutout against Wheatland last week. At catcher, Caressa Sharpe has been “outstanding,” according to Laura Campbell. Hali Eckles is a fixture at first base and sophomore Jorden Gerlach plays third base. Sophomores Nelly Steinhoff and Steffanie Dunn are splitting time between left field and second base. Sarah Davidson.plays right field. Meghan McCollum is a valuable utility player. She can pitch and she swings a big bat. Taylor Gerlach — Jorden’s twin sister — plays in the outfield, where Nicole Escalante also provides depth. Colfax caught a tough break when left fielder Mariah Turcotte suffered a knee injury prior to the season that will cost her the rest of her sophomore year. “That was unfortunate news,” Laura Campbell said. “She’s crushed. That’s a big bummer.” The coach said her team doesn’t have a lot of depth, but the girls are working hard and building toward the future. In the meantime, the Falcons will do the best they can to hold their own against the likes of PVL heavyweights Lincoln, Bear River and Whitney. “All I’m going to tell them (in those games) is what goes on in our dugout is the most important thing,” Laura Campbell said. “Don’t let us beat ourselves. Don’t give up and don’t give the ballgame away. Just leave knowing that you played with everything you had.”