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Santiam softball hopes to make a splash in new league

Santiam Wolverines

The Santiam High softball team moves into a new district this year, but the goals remain virtually the same for coach Greg Grenbemer.

The Wolverines were 15-11 a year ago and 13-7 in the massive 11-team Class 2A-1A Special District 2 and Grenbemer was named coach of the year for leading the squad to a fourth place tie with Culver. Santiam took out Lost River of Merrill in the first round of the state playoffs before losing to eventual champion Grant Union/Prairie City in the round of 16.

This year the Wolverines move to Special District 3, a seven-team league that also includes Central Linn, Culver, East Linn Christian, Gervais, Mohawk and Regis. Mohawk is the lone Class 1A squad in the district.

“It’s an all new league this year with some new teams that didn’t have programs last year,” Grenbemer told The Canyon Weekly.  “Our goal is to try to win the league and make a push for the state playoffs.”

The Wolverines have made the playoffs in five of Grenbemer’s six seasons running the program, and he has some strong returnees for 2024.

Back are the pitcher-catcher twin sister battery of pitcher McKenna Dodge and catcher McKayla Dodge. Also returning are shortstop Boston Flores, center fielder Kasey Solus, utility player Maddie Allen, third baseman Lindsey Briley and outfielder Haili Becker. McKenna Dodge made last year’s all-district first team as a first baseman, with Solus also a first-teamer. Flores was a second-teamer and McKayla Dodge received honorable mention.

“We have a solid core returning this year,” Grenbemer said, noting that he has a good crop of freshmen and JV players to fill in spots for those who graduated.

Overall, Santiam has 20 players out for drills and Grenbemer said the Wolverines will field both varsity and junior varsity squads.

Scio Loggers

The Wolverines’ scheduled jamboree for March 11, the first contest day under OSAA rules, was rained out, but the schedule is full the rest of the week, including an intriguing non-league matchup on Thursday against visiting Scio.

The Class 3A Loggers were 24-2 a year ago and played a 12-inning classic against undefeated Burns in a state championship game won by the Hilanders, 1-0.

The Loggers had just one senior on the 2023 roster, outfielder Carrie Jones, and coach Jim Mask’s squad returns district player of the year Myleigh Cooper as well as other all-district standouts such as catcher Cam Dalke, outfielder Taryn Ramsay, infielder/outfielder Macy Johnson, first baseman Meagan Trissel, second baseman Khloe Free and outfielder Rilee Nelson. Free is the lone senior on this year’s roster.

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