Senior leadership to carry Vikings softball

With 13 players out for softball this season, the Vale coaching staff is pumped about experience – and not worried about total turnout.

The Vikings have 10 returnees from last year’s squad, including eight seniors.

“We have experience at basically all the positions on the field,” said Vale head coach Kelly Johnson.

In addition to experience, Johnson said the team possesses other qualities sure to make this season a success.

“I think we will be fast, have good defense and should hit the ball well,” the Viking coach said as the team warmed up.

The Viks finished atop the standings last season in the 3A-5 Eastern Oregon League with a 19-9 overall record and a 12-2 league record. The two league losses came at the hand of Elgin/Imbler during a doubleheader on the road. Opening the state tournament, Vale sailed through the first round with a 12-4 victory over Glide before bowing out in the second round in a 12-0 blanking to Scio.

The regular season should be interesting and busy with a new team, Weston-McEwen/Griswold, joining the league and bumping up the total number of teams to nine.

“We just don’t know anything about them,” Johnson said. “They are really unknown to everyone in the league.”

The Vikings open the season March 15 with a trip to Homedale to meet the Idaho 3A Trojans. On March 17, the Viks will welcome the Idaho 3A Panthers of Parma to Vale for the first chance for home fans to see Vale. Game time is 5 p.m.