XENIA — Chants and cheers will provide the soundtrack on the softball diamond once again as the season gets set to begin on Saturday.
So many teams have strong potential for improvement this season, whether its from returning experience for some or a return to the field period for others as Cedarville will compete once again.
Here is a breakdown for all nine area schools:
(Statistics from 2020-21)
2020-21: 25-5, 9-4 GWOC (2nd), District Champions, lost to Lakota West 5-3 in regional final
Coach: Megan Barrett
Players to watch: Haley Ferguson, So. (176IP, 23-4 W-L, 1SV, 7SHO, 281K, 0.96ERA, 0.619WHIP, .435AVG/.495OBP, 8R, 6HR, 35RBI, .981FLD%); Caitlynn Newlen, Sr. (.343/.343, 25R, 2HR, 21RBI, 1SB); Shelby Metzger, Sr. (.446/.500, 32R, 1HR, 12RBI, 4SB); Molly Koesters, Sr. (.303/.367, 6R, 5HR, 14RBI, .972FLD%); Kate Schell, So. (.305/.348, 18R, 6RBI, 3SB, .938FLD%); Ashley Norris, Sr. (.257/.368, 16R, 6RBI, 7SB)
Outlook: A new field will bring more excitement to what should be an excellent team. Ferguson will be a player to watch throughout the spring.
Bellbrook Golden Eagles
2020-21: 10-7, 6-6 SWBL Southwestern (4th), lost to Sidney 7-4 in sectional tournament
Coach: Heather Hebrank
Players to watch: Katie Smith, Sr. (.410AVG/.425OBP, 7R, 1HR, 13RBI, 2SB); Paige Buckle, Sr. (.426/.460, 15R, 8RBI, 2SB); Allie Hess, Jr. (.327/.351, 12R, 14RBI, 5SB); Sydney Burchfield, So. (.261/.292, 12R, 8RBI, 1SB); Mallory Horvath, So. (.302/.348, 13, 7RBI, 4SB); Reagan O’Brien, So. (.250/.88, 17R, 2HR, 10RBI, 4SB)
Outlook: How much can an offense carry the early load will be interesting. The Golden Eagles return zero ininngs in the pitching circle.
2020-21: 6-20, 5-9 GCL (5th), lost to Northwestern 13-1 in sectional tournament
Coach: Cassandra Shea
Players to watch: Sienna Barnes, Sr. (71IP, 3-8 W-L, 1SV, 46K, 6.51ERA, .283AVG/.394OBP, 10R, 11RBI, 5SB, .932FLD%); Grace Randall, Sr. (.354/.494, 24R, 12RBI, 10SB); Cecelia Sharp, Jr. (.211/.286, 4R, 5RBI); Skylar Crumbaugh, So. (.094/.194, 2R, 2RBI, 1SB); Shaina Beam, So. (.320/.469, 8R, 1HR, 8RBI, 6SB, 1.000FLD%); Julia Jordan, Jr. (.179/.303, 3R)
Outlook: Lots of areas to improve from last year, but the Patriots bring back two all-league performers to provide a boost to what could be a good group of core players.
2020-21: Did not play
Coach: Matt Caraway
Outlook: A fresh slate for the Indians this season as it returns to the diamond. New coach and new players could provide an advantage in the unknown.
2020-21: 8-16, 5-12 MVL Valley (2nd), lost to Piqua 18-8 in sectional tournament
Coach: Tim Duncan
Players to watch: Hailey Webb, So. (113IP, 6-12 W-L, 1SV, 1SHO, 125K, 3.71ERA, 1.611WHIP, .288AVG/.338OBP, 17R, 3HR, 14RBI, 10SB); Taylor Shephard, So. (.500/.506, 25R, 6HR, 33RBI, 2SB, 1.000FLD%); Bailee Walters, Jr. (.493/.531, 26R, 6HR, 23RBI, 5SB, .941FLD%); Mallorie Ferguson, Jr. (.367/.424, 17R, 3HR, 10RBI 1SB, .975FLD%); Kyleigh Cook, So. (.324/.372, 22R, 2HR, 10RBI, 4SB); Kaelyn Offill, So. (.269/.310, 13R, 1HR, 12RBI, 1SB)
Outlook: Solid returning numbers brings the potential for a big season. The Skyhawks had one of the best pitching groups in the league last year and return the majority of the arms.
2020-21: 9-13, 5-9 OHC South (3rd), lost to Indian Lake 9-8 (8inn.) in sectional tournament
Coach: Chris Reno
Players to watch: Sadie Trisel, Jr. (.479AVG/.545OBP, 21R, 30RBI, 12SB, .969FLD%); Ellie Harlow, Sr. (21.2IP, 1-2 W-L, 1SV, 10K, 10.02ERA, .227/.275, 9R, 10RBI, 5SB); Makenna Reno, Sr. (.554/.602, 36R, 1HR, 15RBI, 21SB); Harley Clonch, Sr. (.266/.326, 13R, 15RBI, 9SB); Kennedy Dean, So. (.224/.280, 13R, 12RBI, 10SB); Karlie Harlow, Jr. (.210/.290, 11R, 15RBI, 7SB)
Outlook: Will boast some of the best returning hitters in the league. Finding suitable pitchers to compliment its defense is a question mark.
Legacy Christian Knights
2020-21: 4-4, 2-2 MBC (2nd), did not participate in postseason
Coach: Sharon Gay
Players to watch: Natalie Strickle, So. (28IP, 4-1 W-L, 26K, 13.25ERA, .250AVG/.500OBP, 12R, 2RBI, 4SB); Hannah Lacure, Jr. (.500/.654, 15R, 9RBI, 10SB); Franny Park, Sr. (.474/.630, 7R, 12RBI, 1SB); Kaitlyn Crawford, Sr. (.438/.719, 7R, 6RBI, 5SB); Olivia Augustine, So. (.368/.571, 11R, 4RBI, 11SB); Concetta Augustine, So. (.429/.556, 11R, 6RBI, 8SB)
Outlook: Gaining experience is still a priority for a young group. The schedule has been expanded to provide more opportunities.
2020-21: 9-16, 4-13 MVL Valley (3rd), lost to Miamisburg 19-0 in sectional tournament
Coach: John Miner
Players to watch: Kynnydy Lewis, Jr. (119.1IP, 8-11 W-L, 66K, 7.51ERA, .449AVG/.493OBP, 9R, 3HR, 17RBI, 4SB); Tori McPherson, Jr. (.500/.558, 24R, 2HR, 23RBI, 13SB); Makyna Carr, Sr. (20IP, 0-2 W-L, 1SV, 16K, 16.80 ERA, .386/.446, 25R, 3HR, 13RBI, 7SB), Megan Bradley, Jr. (.371/.463, 29R, 5RBI, 17SB, .925FLD%); Dakota Wagoner, So. (.358/.419, 5R, 1HR, 15RBI, 3SB, .982FLD%); Gracee Cassidy, Jr. (.297/.444, 13R, 10RBI, 10SB, .936FLD%)
Outlook: Good balance between hitting and pitching means the Bucs should be competitive in many games. League race is open for a team to step up.
Yellow Springs Bulldogs
2020-21: 3-12, 2-1 MBC (1st), lost to Botkins 20-10 in sectional tournament
Coach: Jim DeLong
Players to watch: Violet Babb, So. (18.2IP, 0-2 W-L, 7K, 10.88ERA, .472AVG/.537OBP, 15R, 1HR, 14RBI, 1SB); Halee Sparks, Jr. (11.1IP, 1-2 W-L, 6K, 13.59ERA, .480/.639, 13R, 15RBI, 15SB); Sophia Lawson, Sr. (.515/.636, 19R, 1HR, 9RBI, 24SB); Carina Basora, Sr. (.556/.613, 9R, 15RBI, 11SB); Joslyn Herring, So. (.452/.595, 18R, 9RBI, 12SB); Lily Rainey, Sr. (.306/.375, 12R, 9RBI, 11SB)
Outlook: Pitching has the highest room for improvement. The Bulldogs only allowed single digit runs in one game last season.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.