RETURN LEADERSHIP SPELLS BIG THINGS FOR PHINS
The name on the front of the jersey is the same. Just about everything else has changed for SCC softball.
The Phins’ softball team starts their season in just a couple of days with many new faces, both within the coaching staff and on the team.
Equipped with knowledge of working as an assistant with a Division 1 team last year, SCC softball coach Ben Reindel has returned to lead the Phins. Reindel is in his first year back at the helm of SCC softball after a one-year hiatus, having served as a hitting and in infield coach for the Seattle University softball team last year. He served as the head coach for SCC during 2015 and 2016.
Officially announced in June after the end of Seattle U’s season, Reindel inherited a roster with very few players. With 9 players in the lineup/ on the eld at all times, at least 13 or 14 are needed to have a consistent roster than can navigate player struggles, fatigue and injury. As of Reindel’s return to SCC, the team had seven players — four returning sophomores, and three committed incoming freshmen.
SCC’s softball team struggled mightily last year, going just 3-27. But two years ago, when Reindel was last coaching, SCC went a respectable 16-18, finished third in their division and made the playoffs.
Maddie Spatig preps for the upcoming season.
One area that Reindel says should be key for the Phins is the fundamentals.
“We’re a young team that’s talented enough to be in a lot of close games,” he said. “Can we catch the ball late in games? Can we run the bases right?”
Reindel says he views himself as a very analytical coach; one with a “new- school” mindset who’s very much into the raw numbers and advanced statistics of the game. That approach helped design a dramatic change to provide more power for second-year student Maleah Woodley.
“Woodley is someone that we did a whole swing change with from last year,” Reindel said. “Last year she hit .300, but her slugging percentage was .380. Her hands were really high (on the bat), so we worked on dropping her hands down to get more power. For how powerful and athletic she is, if she can improve that part of her game
to get to the next level for her as a sophomore, that would be a huge addition to the middle of our lineup.”
With just four second-years returning to the team from last year’s squad, several of the 10 freshmen will have to step up this season. One whom the Phins will no doubt be counting on is first-year third baseman Kacey Hvitved, who has received attention from multiple D1 schools, both during her senior year of high school and this fall.
“She has the ability to be the player of the year in this conference,” Reindel said. “She’s that good.”
Phin softball opens their season on Sunday, March 4, hosting a doubleheader against Lower Columbia College. The softball team plays their home games
at Meridian Park (16759 Wallingford Ave N).
By Ed Strong,
Photo by Nick Molsee