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VWS Softball Season Preview

Frank Dariano
Vivian Webb Softball begins its San Joaquin League title defense with a new manager. Ron Smith has been a softball coach in the Inland Empire for nearly 30 years. Over that time, 50 of his former players have gone on to play Division I college softball, and three have made it to the Olympics. Ron most recently served as a hitting coach at Riverside City College prior to coming to Webb.

Coach Smith describes his coaching approach as revolving around “old style fundamentals” and makes it a priority that his players “play and respect the game the right way.” He speaks highly of the 2017 Vivian Webb team, saying they want to win and get better. “The girls want to get further in CIF, I tell them it’s their team and I’ll help them get there, I want them to get to that high level too.”

In preseason practices, Smith says his players have been very impressive with their hitting. Elyse Morris ’17, who has committed to Division I St. John’s University (NY), looks to be one of the team’s leaders. He also expects to have a solid pitching rotation in Chandler Luebbers ’17, Thea Kirkpatrick ’18, and Rebecca Whithorn ’18. Overall though, Smith says his team will be smaller than in previous seasons, and staying healthy will be a huge priority for the entire year.

Webb graduated just two seniors from the 2016 team that went 13-4 and made it to the first round of the CIF-SS Division Six Tournament. Coach Smith says the San Joaquin League looks to be weaker than last year, but league newcomer Avalon will present a strong challenge. Smith says the Gauls’ non-league schedule will be tougher, especially when it comes to the pitchers his batters will face. He says Coach Takk Classic in Fullerton, set for March 13-17, will be a very strong test for his team.

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