Seaside softball took a major step forward in 2015.

True, the 6-9 league record wasn’t earth-shattering. But it was better than the 0-15 records the Gulls finished with in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014.

Co-coaches Jon Hotchkiss and Bill Westerholm took Seaside into the post-season in 2015, and they’re hoping to take it a little further in ‘16.

“I expect us to compete,” Hotchkiss said. “We’re going to battle. I would be surprised if we didn’t at least get to where we got last year.”

Seaside has six varsity returners, and Hotchkiss spent the pre-season trying to fill a few gaps in the defensive lineup.

Despite the loss of catcher Allison Bussert, the Gulls are still fairly strong up the middle, with sophomore pitcher Jetta Ideue, senior shortstop Whitney Westerholm and senior center fielder Paige Ideue, a letter-of-intent signee to Centralia College.

Seaside had key losses with the graduation of Brianna Babbitt, Shelby Miller and Bussert, while junior Lucy Bodner suffered a knee injury in basketball and will miss the season.

“We’re trying to see how we can fill the gaps,” Hotchkiss said the third week. “Not having Lucy here is going to hurt us a little, but we have some other girls ready to step up and take on that role.

“We’ve still got Paige in center, Whitney at short, Brittany (West, Sr.) at first for the most part, with Jetta pitching.”

Junior Emma Dutcher will take over the catching duties, and sophomore outfielder Sequoia Shand is the sixth varsity returner.

Freshman pitcher Tori Tomlin saw action in the circle in the Seaside Tournament, while other possibilities in the infield will be junior Mica Paranal at second, and sophomore GeriAnn Klaffke at third.

“We’ll see,” Hotchkiss said. “We have a couple we’ll try there, and then fill the hole in right field. We had five girls playing (in the season opener) who had never played before.

“With Jetta back in the circle, Whitney and Brittany both returning, Paige in center … I expect us to be competitive, just like last year.”

SEASIDE SOFTBALL

Coaches: Jon Hotchkiss, Bill Westerholm, 2nd year

2015: 9-16 (6-9 Cowapa)

Playoff: Lost at Douglas, 1-14

All-League Loss: Allison Bussert

Key Returners: Jetta Ideue, Paige Ideue, Brittany West, Whitney Westerholm

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