By AARON MANAGHAN
Holly Carver is looking forward to bringing a little bit of Central Kitsap into Klahowya’s fastpitch program.
The 1998 CK grad and former JV coach is stepping up to the plate at Klahowya, taking on the head coaching job for the Eagles. Quite simply, that transition is what she’s most looking forward to.
“It’s definitely being a varsity coach,” Carver said. “It’s great. I love it. Just being able to teach them what I was taught. “
Carver, who advanced to state with CK in each of her years as a player, including the squad that took fourth in the state her senior year, even got to go against her former coach, CK’s Bruce Welling, Wednesday when Klahowya visiting CK on the diamond.
“Holly was a very good player,” Welling said following his Cougs’ 13-3 win. “She’s going to be a very good coach. It’s fun.”
With CK being one of the area’s most successful fastpitch programs, Carver said she looks forward to integrating some of what has worked there into Klahowya.
“Actually, all I know is what he coached me,” she said of Welling. “It’s almost like a CK kind of.”
Inheriting a crew of Eagles smattered with experience as well as youth, Carver said she likes the team she has.
“At the same time though, we have a lot of talent,” she said when asked about the team’s youth. “And we have lots of pitching this year.”
Kazandra Holliday leads the charge from the mound once again this year — “Kazandra will be pitching a lot for us,” Carver said —but will be joined by the likes of younger arms like Brianna Stanley and freshman Jacqui Hornbeck. Still, Carver said she realizes the jump some of the younger players are making is a big one.
“(Hornbeck)’s used to playing junior high ball,” Carver said. “Now she’s playing varsity. It’s a big difference.”
Also returning are catcher Jocylynn Meadows and shortstop Meika Bumbalough, who hit a two-run homer in the loss to CK and crushed a grand slam, driving in seven runs, in the Eagles’ 14-4 win Tuesday against Elma. Paige Antuna, 2-2 in the Elma win, is also back for Klahowya.
With the Eagles graduating several key pieces from last year’s district team, including Indiana University’s Brittany Devitt, the Eagles will also have several young contributors. Catcher Morgan Euzarraga is one Carver likes.
“I’m excited about her,” she said. “She’ll be catching after Jocylynn leaves.”
With freshmen starting up the middle in Wednesday’s game, Carver said the team will progress as the season goes.
“It just takes time,” she said.
The Eagles (1-2) have been hot and cold at times with the bats so far. That’s something Carver said Klahowya needs to work on.
“We need to become more consistent (hitting),” she said. “We were cold at Chimacum, hot (Tuesday), OK (Wednesday). And fielding too. That’s something we have to work on.”
The Olympic League will be tough again this year, with North Mason returning after winning the state championship a year ago.
The Eagles host Olympic Monday at 4 p.m.