New season brings new coach for Lady Knights

For the Bremerton fastpitch team, the prospect of a new season is good news.

The Lady Knights finished the 2008 campaign winless, failing to tally a run in eight of the 10 games in which scores were reported. In those 10 games, they were outscored 137-8 and forced to forfeit eight times after falling behind by 10 runs or more through five innings.

Along the way, coach Octavia Spann, who is back this year to share coaching duties, was sidelined due to personal issues.

The team never found a rhythm.

But the new season brings new coach Michael Chase, who for the past five years has coached a local 16-and-under Diamond Dusters fastpitch team, and a new outlook.

Chase, who also has coached basketball at the junior high level, said Wednesday he is excited to get started.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity,” said Chase of the coaching vacancy. “It’ll be different, hopefully I can bring some experience to the program.”

Experience appears to be what the Lady Knights need, Chase said of the 34 players who turned out for tryouts Monday, about 15 were freshmen.

Chase called the 34-player turnout “a pretty good number,” adding that for Bremerton, a team rebuilding and reloading, getting 15 freshmen in the system is essential to the team’s future success.

“We tried to get as many freshmen as we could,” Chase said. “That’s what we’re trying to do; build a solid foundation.”

At least one portion of the foundation is already in place as senior Alma-May Magday, who sat out last season due to a medical condition, is set to return to the lineup. She will see action at catcher and various infield positions.

“I’m not sure where I’m going to put them all,” said Chase of the roster, which was cemented yesterday.

Among the newcomers who will play a role in the team’s success, Chase said, is freshman Rachael Pratt, a catcher and infielder.

“She’s a pretty good infielder,” Chase said. “She’s a good player.”

Chase added that the Lady Knights’ most glaring hole is at pitching, a position they also struggled at last season and the season prior.

“Pitching is the area we need to improve on,” Chase said. “That’s our weak spot, pitching, because we don’t have enough.”

For now, however, Chase is most concerned with seeing the players — and team — improve on a consistent basis.

“My goal is to improve one percent every day,” he said. “Just to get better.”

Bremerton’s regular-season opener is March 16 against Vashon Island, giving Chase and Co. less than two weeks to prepare.

“We don’t expect to be in game shape for the first game,” Chase said. “But nobody else will be (in shape) either.”

The team’s first home game is against Kingston at 4 p.m. March 25 at Lions Field in Bremerton.

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