Local teams ready for a new season
The search has ended, and the Bulldogs have started rebranding with a new head coach. Scott Vang takes over for Brad Chewning, who stepped down in the offseason for medical reasons.
Vang comes to Willamina after spending the last 15 years at 6A’s Barlow High School as the softball coach. Vang helped lead the Bruins to five Mt. Hood Conference championships.
During those years, Vang led Barlow to the state championship game in 2006. The Bruins lost to Jesuit 2-1 in nine innings. The Bruins were 27-4 in 2006 and 26-3 in 2008.
Vang takes over a Bulldog team that finished 13-9 last season. Willamina reached the first round of the state playoffs but lost 13-8 to Pleasant Hill ending its season. The Bulldogs lost their last four games of the 2012 season.
The 2012 season was Willamina’s worst since 2006. From 2006-11, the Bulldogs had a combined record of 137-33.
Willamina has a tough, road-heavy schedule to start the 2013 season. The Bulldogs play seven of their first nine games on the road. The Bulldogs play their first game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Regis.
Willamina beat Regis in its 2012 season-opener 3-0.
Dayton takes aim at another league title
Not much has changed for the Dayton softball program. For the rest of the West Valley League, that could be a problem. The Pirates return 15 players and play their first game of 2013 at 4:30 p.m. Monday vs. Clatskanie. Brianna Mullan — the West Valley League Player of the Year in 2012 — but Dayton still has a young, experienced, deep team that should be a danger in 3A.
The Pirates won the West Valley League title with a 21-8 record. Dayton reached the state playoffs and demolished Grant Union 13-0 in the first round of the state playoffs. Dayton lost 10-5 to Blanchet Catholic in the state semifinal game ending its season.
Yamhill-Carlton opened a lot of eyes with a spectacular 19-7 season last year that started with its pitching.
Junior Molly Smith played a role in six of the Tigers shutout wins last year, and she threw multiple no-hitters and eturns for her junior season as Yamhill-Carlton’s ace of the pitching staff. The Tigers were shocked at home in the first round of the 4A state playoffs last year, but with a core group of experienced players back, Y-C should again be tough.
The Tigers play at Hermiston over spring break on March 27, then play March 28 vs. Stayton in the Mac-Hi Tournament.
The state of Warriors softball is up in the air.
Amity struggled last year and went 6-10. The Warriors did not make it to the state playoffs. They ended the 2012 season with a 12-2 loss to Colton in the second round of the West Valley League playoffs.
Amity begins the 2013 season with three of its first five games on the road. The Warriors begin their season at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. Western Mennonite.
The Spartans struggled last season. The Spartans went 3-16 and struggled to play consistently. All three of Sheridan’s wins came at home in 2012.
Sheridan starts the season at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Harrisburg.