FLORENCE — For a young team entering a new season, it’s better to know strengths and weaknesses than to not.
Florence’s softball team knows it’s going to be a good hitting team, and so far the numbers back that up. The Gophers put up double-digit run totals on the likes of Globe and even 5A Tempe McClintock, which they beat 12-6 in a preseason tournament in Maricopa. They’re led by seniors Kendall Drake and Riley Ecenbarger, who have both already signed to play college ball, and juniors Amaya Guilin and Alixis Padilla.
“I think we can be pretty potent up and down the lineup,” said Florence coach Dominic Rice. “That’s as long as we stay within ourselves and not try to do too much.”
On the other side, the Gophers are still trying to figure out their pitching situation. While they have been putting up plenty of runs, they’ve also been allowing more. Their season opener against Globe ended in a 16-11 loss, for example.
Rice said there is some experience in the circle with Gilin, Jasmine Frias and Jonnie Cornett, but he’s hoping for some young talent to come in and fill out that pitching depth.
If the pitching starts to match up with the hitting, Rice believes Florence will be able to go further this season than last year when it finished 13-8 and lost 4-3 to Safford in the 3A play-in round.
“We’re experienced, and we’ve got a chance if we continue to jell and continue to improve with what we’ve already done,” Rice said. “We can make a run in our region at least, and maybe then in the playoffs.”