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Softball preview: Top players to watch
The Register looks at the top players to watch this softball season (listed alphabetically).
Mackenzie Boesel, Orange Lutheran: The slick-fielding shortstop also owns one of the most-feared bats in the county. Boesel hit .462 as a junior and led Orange Lutheran in hits (42), RBI (37), homers (8) and posted a .566 on-base percentage. The South Carolina-commit struck out just twice in 113 plate appearances.
Hannah Boos, Pacifica: Expectations for the Mariners are high, largely, because of the way the junior right-hander developed and pitched in the second part of last season. Her two losses in Pacifica’s final 18 games came against Mission Viejo (the Division 2 runner-up) and Norco (Division 1 champs). Boos should cement her status as Pacifica’s next great ace this spring.
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Ryan Denhart, Los Alamitos: She didn’t see a ton of time in the circle in 2015, but the junior will be the Griffins’ go-to pitcher this spring. As a freshman, the hard-throwing righty guided the team to a 21-win season and an appearance in the Michelle Carew Classic final. Denhart should be back at that level this season.
Maddy Dwyer, Orange Lutheran: The Trinity League’s co-pitcher of the year won 19 games, struck out 152 and posted a 1.66 ERA as a sophomore in 2015. She reportedly upped her velocity in the offseason. Don’t overlook her production at the plate. She homered eight times a season ago and had an average of .439.
Jenna Holcomb, Los Alamitos: Speed is her calling card, and the center fielder has utilized that gift to become one of the area’s top leadoff hitters and defensive outfielders. The reigning Sunset League MVP batted .444 as a junior and swiped 30 bases. She has signed with Tennessee.
Kristina Inouye, Huntington Beach: The shortstop is as reliable as they come, hitting better than .430 with at least 35 hits in each of her first three varsity campaigns. Opposing pitchers will find it difficult to pitch around Inouye because she’ll be surrounded by capable bats. She signed with Stanford.
Dejah Mulipola, Pacifica: There isn’t a better defensive catcher around, and opposing teams know better than to test Mulipola’s cannon of an arm. At the plate, the Arizona commit has made huge strides in power and average. She could wind up being the most productive bat in a loaded Pacifica lineup.
Jasmine Sievers, Capistrano Valley: Last season, no freshman in Orange County made a bigger impact for her ballclub than Sievers did. She was among the area’s leaders in hits (55), average (.482), runs (31) and stolen bases (15). What will she do as a sophomore?
Camryn Ybarra, Mission Viejo: The third baseman hit behind Alyssa Palomino last season and finished her sophomore campaign with a .423 average, eight home runs and 41 hits, all tops among Mission Viejo’s returning players. She’ll play an integral role for the Diablos as they try to reclaim their spot atop the Division 2 ranks.
Taryn Young, Canyon: The Comanches graduated as much talent as any program in Orange County, losing four Division I bats from last year’s Division 1 semifinalist. Young should soften the blow as Canyon’s top returner. The junior outfielder finished second on the team in RBI (23) and doubles (8) last year, was third in home runs (5) and batted .318.
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