By Pat Jenkins
The coach is new but the outlook on the 2014 season isn’t for Eatonville High School’s fastpitch team.
After winning the Nisqually League championship and making a deep post-season run last year, the Cruisers have similar expectations under first-year coach Jennifer Smith.
“Our general expectation is to get to state again this year and play as a solid team from start to finish,” said Smith, who replaced Erik Danielson after he stepped away from the team earlier this year for family reasons.
Danielson guided Eatonville to the second round of the 1A state tournament last season before losing to eventual champion Connell and finishing with a 13-3 record.
The 2014 edition of the Cruisers includes two All-Nisqually choices from a year ago – pitcher Morgan Maida, a first-team pick, and outfielder Sam Cox (honorable mention). They’re part of a roster that Smith said is young overall with three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.
They displayed some pop in their bats during an 18-1 romp over Cascade Christian on March 26. Rayna Simmons hit a three-run home run after a 15-minute rain delay and also had a triple in a 12-hit attack that included three hits by Kaitlyn Voss and two by Hailey Maida. Hannah Vaninetti was the winning pitcher.
The victory came two days after Eatonville was blanked by Graham-Kapowsin 13-0. Two doubles by senior Kaitlin Voss was the highlight for the Cruisers. They were playing without Morgan Maida, who suffered an injury the week before.