After 12 seasons at Sunset High School in Beaverton, first-year Century softball coach Spencer Mills is excited, but also a bit curious about his team who's he's still yet to see in live action.
"I've only been here for about three months," said Mills. "But I'm getting to know my team and I think we're going to win some games."
The Jaguars return five players from last year's team that missed the playoffs, but Mills said, while young, this Century team has some tools to work with.
Sophomore Gavyn Shaffer is a returning first team all-Metro Leaguer who'll play shortstop for the Jags, senior third baseman Kayla Clayton was a second team all-league selection last season, and junior Brittney Bertrand will play second base and probably lead off, but they'll be relying on a relatively unknown sophomore, Sarah Grueber, to carry the pitching load, and while talented, how she'll do when the lights the come on is still a mystery to even Mills.
"I've yet to see her pitch against live competition," he said. "And she'll be getting her first varsity experience, so I expect her to have some growing pains."
Mills said he expects his squad to be able to score runs, but says they'll need to get better in the outfield in order to reach their potential. In spite of the youth and the uncertainty on the mound, he believes this is a playoff team – he just needs to convince his team of it.
"If we do everything were capable of, we should be in the playoffs for the first time in a while," said Mills. "But I think I feel better about my team than they do right now."
The long-time veteran of the Metro League expects Jesuit and Glencoe to be the cream of the league crop, for they have the pitching, but "I think if we win the games we can, we should be right there in the playoff hunt."
And if not?
"I only have one senior," he said. "So I get them all back next year!"
Century was scheduled to play at North Salem Wednesday, March 15, and is slated to host Corvallis High School tonight at 5pm.