Local Sports Journal

Coach Jim Walker has the utmost confidence in his Hesperia Panther softball team for the upcoming season.

And, why not?

He’s got five seniors, four of whom return from a year ago. Toss in a pair of softball pitchers and solid defense and there you have the key ingredients to a contender.

“The CSAA looks wide open to me with the roster changes,” said Walker, who expects Holton, Chippewa Hills, Morley-Stanwood and his Panthers to be vying for the coveted top spot.

To make that run, Hesperia will be looking to senior centerfielder Paiton Beekman, who led the team in hits and stolen bases last year, junior catcher Alexis Castillo, with a strong arm, senior Riley Martin, a solid right handed hitter, senior Deborah Santiago, whose off-season dedication has put her higher in the batting order and versatile Mikaila Workman, a senior who can play multiple positions.

Promising newcomers include junior Paige Lavin, another versatile player, and junior Rachel Farber, a solid defensive player at third base.

Manning the mound will be sophomores Meradith Schmitz and Katie Annis.

“A solid defense will back the two pitchers and timely hitting will be the key to success for the Hesperia squad,” Walker said.