NASELLE - Chris Clark, the newly appointed softball coach at Naselle High School, has welcomed a large group of girls preparing for the 2004 season.

Clark, who has been a teacher in the local district for over two years, replaces longtime coach Doug Rogers, who retired after last season. Clark is a graduate of Eastern Washington State University who attended high school in Connell.

The Comets have a large group of 26 prospective players, including 10 letter winners from last season, including four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and nine freshmen.

Some of the players have already been given positions by the new coach. They include Chera Anderson at first base and catcher, Megan Bozarth and Marijane Mobley pitching. Toni Abbott will play shortstop and catch some. Miranda Agee will play second base, while Jamie Ahlstrom, Jamie Hines and Katie Klinger will spend time in the outfield - Klinger will also see time on the mound. Kelli Revis will see playing time at first base, as will Crystal Bartolus, Sarah Dotson, Chelsea Johnson. Megan Kato, Brittany Pellervo and Brittanie Vaughn will handle the hot corner at third base.

Practicing since March 1, the Comets are working to have their required number of turnouts (10) before their first game. The Comets are at Ocosta High in Westport, Wash., Wednesday March 17, for their season opener. They entertain Seaside this Friday, March 19, on the NHS field.

"The key to the season will be our pitching," said Clark. "We will be starting with relatively new pitchers (Mobley and Klinger) as our other pitchers graduated. Everyone in the league is facing the same thing, as they also lost their regular pitchers. We hope to do well in the Pacific League and get into the district tournament."

The coach said that Mobley is working hard at developing her pitching, and she has good pop to her ball. Klinger is "coming along well."

"Katie will be our center fielder when she isn't pitching," he said. "Our hitters will be mainly slap hitters and we will play more small ball than we will play long ball."

Naselle has scheduled games against some of the bigger schools in the area including Seaside, Warrenton and Astoria, to give the kids more experience against top teams.

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