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Santiam softball sets sights on playoffs

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

The Santiam High softball program has been to the state playoffs four of the past five seasons, and coach Greg Grenbemer told The Canyon Weekly “we hope to get back there this year.”

The Wolverines were 12-10 a year ago, falling in the first-round of the 22-team Class 2A-1A playoffs to Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii.

Grenbemer also coached cross country and JV girls basketball this season while working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at the Minto fish facility next to Packsaddle Park along Highway 22. This is his sixth season coaching softball at Santiam.

Turnout has been good, Grenbemer said, noting “we have 20 players total this year and are excited to have a full JV squad.”

Grenbemer, whose squad is 1-1 in the early going, has a fairly experienced yet still young roster. Four starters return, pitcher McKenna Dodge, utility player McKayla Dodge, outfielder Kasey Solus and infielder Boston Flores. The Dodge twins and Solus are juniors and Flores is a sophomore.

Two other sophomores, first baseman Lindsey Briley and catcher Madison Allen, received some varsity experience a year ago, with two of the squad’s three seniors, infielder Kielyn Thurston and pitcher Savannah Stanley, back on the roster after being injured a year ago.

Santiam has been slotted by the OSAA into Special District 2 for softball, an 11-team Class 2A league that also includes Culver, Monroe, Regis, Blanchet Catholic, Kennedy, Central Linn, Colton, Western Christian, Gervais, Chemawa and Salem Academy/Willamette Valley Christian.

With an 11-team league comes a 20-game district season and that also means conference games started early. Santiam opened its conference season in its second contest on March 21 with an 8-7 loss at Regis. The Wolverines will play just five non-league games, three of them in a spring break tournament hosted by Scio.

“We will be in a tough league this year,” Grenbemer said. “The top four will qualify for the state playoffs and we hope to be one of those teams.”

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