Spring sports preview: Art & Science of Pitching

first_img Grey, a Portland State signee, helped Woodland win its second softball state title with an undefeated 2018 season, striking out 380 batters, including 69 in four state games, and finishing with a 0.80 earned-run average. Grey threw a complete-game, no-hitter in her Beavers debut last spring.Oliver is in her fourth year as the Spudders’ starting pitcher. She struck out 115 batters and had a 1.49 ERA leading Ridgefield back to the state tournament last spring.With Oliver and Grey in particular, batters can always expect the unexpected.‘Making that adjustment’Ridgefield coach Dusty Anchors is in his third year coaching the Spudders, and has coached softball at the club and high school levels for 20 years. He was in favor of the pitching circle moving back 3 feet, a move made voluntarily in 2010 by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association one year before the mandatory date nationwide. Anchors was head coach of Bremerton’s Olympic High softball team at the time.“Anything to make the sport better,” the coach said.Anchors said small adjustments were made by both sides — hitters and pitchers — but the additional 3 feet didn’t make much of a difference. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Share: For pitchers like Oliver, throughout youth ball adjustments took a bit of time to acclimate to the new pitching distances, she said.Until 14U, Oliver overpowered hitters with two pitches — fastballs and change-ups. Eventually, batters caught up, and she added new spins. The drop ball came next. It’s one she says is her favorite pitch to throw.“It’s probably my most efficient pitch,” she said.Speed and movementFor hitters, that fraction of a second, the final 3 feet to home plate, also can make all the difference, said Jessica Flanagan, now a junior utility player at Portland State.“They’re jumping up just as much as you’re jumping up,” she said.Flanagan was a four-year all-league high school player at Woodland from 2013-16 and a three-year starting catcher. At Woodland, she caught for pitchers Madi Sorensen, Nicholette Nesbitt and Haylee Michaud, a trio who had their own styles, she said. Follow GO Share: At one time, Oliver and Grey were teammates for the Portland-based NW Bullets softball club team. The two also bring out the best in each other, now facing off at least twice a year in the regular season. Last year, they split their two regular-season meetings, including Ridgefield’s 4-3 10-inning thriller behind Oliver’s 17 strikeouts.Expect more of the same in 2019. The two teams face off at Woodland April 17 and at Ridgefield May 3.And with pitchers who go beyond throwing by perfecting the art and science of pitching.“At the end of the day,” Grey said, “anyone can catch up to speed.” Receive latest stories and local news in your email: By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer Published: March 17, 2019, 3:30pm Now hitting better than .300 for the Vikings, Flanagan notes how big that final 3 feet is when a pitch comes to the plate that combines velocity and spin, especially facing pitchers from the Pacific-12 Conference, she said. Portland State hosts Oregon State in a doubleheader April 3 in Hillsboro and travels to Oregon later in April.“They have speed,” Flanagan said, “but they also have movement and that movement is huge. If you have a pitch coming in fast and moving, it’s a lot harder to hit.”Dominance came earlyMore pitchers hone their craft year-round through club ball and private instruction, and Oliver and Grey are no exceptions. And once a fastball is mastered, next is learning how to make the ball spin, or move. Those are the deceptive pitches: curveball, change-up, rise ball, drop ball.Even at the 12U level, Oliver at Ridgefield overpowered hitters with her fastball’s velocity, but also had an equally effective changeup. Grey calls herself a finesse pitcher. She’s 6 feet tall, throws between 60-65 mph, and can throw seven pitches: fastball, change up, curveball, riseball, backdoor curveball, drop ball, and off-speed drop ball.While she doesn’t emphasize throwing hard — “I see myself as more of someone not knowing what’s coming next (to batters),” she said — Grey focuses on what she calls throwing top three pitches.“That’s all you really need,” she said. “As long as you change the plan and the view of the ball and change speed, honestly, you’ll get any batter.“You have to set yourself apart.”Oliver agrees.“I focus on a couple of pitches,” she said, “to be really good at those pitches compared to have a lot of pitches and not being very good at them.” This story is included in The Columbian’s High School Spring Sports 2019 special section, published on Sunday, March 17 Photo Ridgefield senior Kaia Oliver, left, and Woodland senior Olivia Grey, right, are pictured at Ridgefield High School on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian) Photo Gallerycenter_img “To this day,” Oliver said, “I throw the same one. That pitch was so nasty. I’d get girls on it all the time.”Not much has changed for Ridgefield’s four-year pitcher, who committed to Syracuse her freshman year. She throws 64 mph, and relies a lot on her off-speed for movement, placement and to keep batters guessing.For Grey at Woodland, she didn’t get her start at pitcher while growing up in California. Grey was a catcher, then saw time in the infield. The pitching circle quickly drew her in.“I was one of those people that thinks everyone should have an equal shot,” Grey said, “and I never got my shot. I wanted to try it and it’s been a whole other level of love ever since.” For high school softball pitchers, it’s all about the spin.Woodland’s Olivia Grey and Ridgefield’s Kaia Oliver — two of the state’s top pitchers bound for NCAA Division I softball programs next year — say pitching is just as much sweet science as it is art.“It’s an amazing thing,” said Oliver, a Syracuse signee.The long reign of hard-throwing hurlers might’ve ended when the high school softball pitching rubber moved back 3 feet — from 40 feet to 43 — nationwide in 2011. The move came from the National Federation for State High School Associations to help create more offense in a game that favored dominant pitchers.Initially, it made things tougher on pitchers and easier on hitters in the years that followed. But lately, pitchers have regained some of that dominance with an increase in strikeouts, and fewer hits and runs allowed.In other words, pitchers have mastered 43 feet.Oliver and Grey are no exception. They happen to be two of the state’s best. They also happen to compete in the same league and, again in 2019, will duel it out for 2A Greater St. Helens League supremacy. “If you can throw 40 feet,” he said, “you can throw 43 feet. It’s about making that adjustment.The same goes for the hitters: adjusting their swing seeing the ball for what Anchors said is one-tenth of a second longer for that additional 3 feet to the plate.The current generation of high school pitchers is accustomed to throwing the 43-foot distance to home plate.In youth softball, the pitching circle is 30 feet from home plate at 8-and-under, and moves back 5 feet for the next two age groups. By 14U, they’re throwing from 43 feet, the current distance for high school, college and professional levels. @MegWochnick Ridgefield SpuddersWoodland Beavers 5 Photos Tags Meg Wochnick Columbian staff writer (360) 735-4521 Follow The Columbian on Instagram Spring sports preview: Art & Science of Pitching Prep softball pitchers develop more than speed to put spin on success meg.wochnick@columbian.comlast_img read more

New Army Chief of Staff Karunasekara assumes duties

Towards the end of the brief ceremony the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake made a surprise visit to the location and extended his best wishes to the new Chief of Staff. Major General K. A. D. A Karunasekara RWP RSP VSV USP ndu psc, popularly known as ‘Amal Karunasekara’ was the Commandant of the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskanda and the 15th Colonel of the Regiment in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment.Major General Amal Karunasekara joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet in the year 1981, and after the completion of his initial Officer Cadet training in the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyathalawa, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army in 1984. Being a professional military officer with an excellent record of conduct, he has an outstanding career record spanning more than 35 years to-date.Major General Amal Karunasekara has followed numerous local and overseas courses in various fields of studies to enhance his knowledge and continuous professional advancement. Among them the advanced courses he followed in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, United States of America and the United Kingdom, to his credit. He has received a Masters Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, India and also a Master of Science Degree in Defence Management from the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka. In addition he has also followed the course on ‘Defence and Stretegic Studies’ in National Defence University, China.He is a double staff qualified Military Officer at the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India. Director General General Staff (DGGS), Military Secretary (MS), Master General Ordnance (MGO) and several Senior Officers were present during the brief inauguration of office. In his extended military career, he has served in many Command, Instructional and Staff appointments from the elementary level up to the higher level to-date. Among several key appointments that he held were Director Military Intelligence, Director Infantry, Master General of Ordnance Branch (MGO Br) and Military Secretary of the Sri Lanka Army. The 51st Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army, Major General Amal Karunasekara assumed office this morning during a simple ceremony at his office in the Army Headquarters.Members of the Maha Sangha performed religious observances and invoked blessings on the new appointment as the new Chief of Staff Major General Amal Karunasekara began signing a formal document to signify the acceptance of his new office. He has the honour of being the Commander of the first-ever Sri Lankan contingent of troops for the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations that was sent to Haiti in 2004.He has also commanded an infantry Battalion and an infantry Brigade during many military operations conducted against LTTE terrorists. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Saturn Metals makes ore sorting breakthrough at Apollo Hill gold project

first_imgSaturn Metals is heralding the first pass results of a laser ore sorting test at its Apollo Hill gold project, near Leonora in the Western Australia goldfields, saying there is potential for using this type of mineral processing upgrade on a future mining operation.Testing using a STEINERT Fines KSS L machine showed mineralised quartz can be efficiently separated from non-mineralised host basalt, according to the company, with the first sorting test achieving a 1.5x upgrade to the grade of a sample, taking material from 0.78 g/t Au to 1.2 g/t Au. Alongside this was a strong gold recovery of up to 91.9% with only two ore sorting passes.Other notable results from this test work included a 28% volume reduction, which was achieved through the effective ejecting of a significant portion of waste rock and marginal material and, importantly, only 0.55% of the gold in sample was lost to fines in preparation for ore sorting (crushing and wet screening to +10 mm ore sorting size). “This low figure is considered a positive result as loss of metal to fines can otherwise render ore sorting ineffective,” the company said.Saturn explained: “Ore sorting, particularly with strong recovery results as seen in the test conducted at Apollo Hill, can result in a more efficient mineral processing solution being developed for mining projects, with smaller tonnages of higher-grade material being beneficiated for mineral processing. This can potentially reduce the size and cost of mineral processing circuits, or increase gold milling capacity, and, in turn, positively impact overall project economics.”Successful ore sorting treatment of selective higher-grade material from Apollo Hill could also lead to truck and toll treatment options for the deposit, according to the company.Following these initial results, the company is planning further test work to refine and improve the application of ore sorting technology at Apollo Hill, it said.Saturn Managing Director, Ian Bamborough, said the results were a “very important breakthrough” for project, which currently contains an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 20.7 Mt grading 1 g/t Au for 685,000 oz of gold.“Positive ore sorting results have the potential to deliver a step change in the feed grade of material delivered into any mineral processing circuit,” he said. “Subject to further positive results, we may have the potential to significantly improve options for the economic development of Apollo Hill.”last_img read more