Eagles are all about the new in 2013

March 12, 2013

By Sebastian Moraga

By Sebastian Moraga Amelia Cunningham fires the ball home during drills at Issaquah High School’s softball practice. The Eagles have a new coach in Ron Hatlen and a new attitude this season, players said.

By Sebastian Moraga
Amelia Cunningham fires the ball home during drills at Issaquah High School’s softball practice. The Eagles have a new coach in Ron Hatlen and a new attitude this season, players said.

For this year’s Issaquah High School squad, the word is new.

New year, new coach and a new chance to leave last year’s campaign behind.

Last year’s squad lacked enthusiasm, senior catcher Heather Benjamin said. This year is different, she added.

“Everyone gets along and everyone is excited to play,” she said.

This year’s team has many underclassmen, and upperclassmen will have to set an example, she added.

Leading this crew is first-year coach Ron Hatlen, a three-year assistant coach at Redmond High School, who is getting his first varsity high school coaching job.

“We graduated a lot of seniors, but I have high expectations for the team,” he said.

This year’s team will attack the base paths, pressure opponents and attack on offense and defense, he said.

“We emphasize that every girl at one point of the season is going to win a game for Issaquah,” Hatlen said, adding that no player will carry the squad.

“Everything is about the team,” he said. “There’s no person ahead of the others.”

It may take time for the team to buy in, but it will happen, he said. There’s no JV squad this year, which gives Hatlen a larger roster — 16 players — and more competition for positions.

“We were close to a JV team,” he said, “two players short.”

One long-term goal is rebuilding the program to where it can have a C team and a JV squad. To that end, the team will host a Little League Night on April 26, to get children connected with their varsity idols.

Benjamin said a big test this year will be the Newport games, April 9 away and May 6 at home.

“We’re about equal in talent,” she said. “For the last couple of years, they win one and we win one.”

The team hopes to win more than just one, of course. Still, Benjamin stays grounded. Making state would be awesome, she said, but a winning season would be fine, too.

“Everyone just needs to make improvements,” she said.

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