Four of the county’s softball teams — Avon (No. 18), Cascade (No. 8), Plainfield (No. 20), and Tri-West (No. 1) — are ranked in the preseason top 20 of their respective classes.
With preseason behind them, teams are ready to hit the diamond and get to work on the 2014 season.
Tri-West enters the season with a No. 1 ranking painted like a bulls-eye on the back of its jerseys. After finishing last yearwith a state championship, the Bruins will look to defend their title.
“We will only worry about the things we can control and save the worrying about that target for the other team,” Tri-West coach Stacey Rogers said.
Although Tri-West graduated a large senior class, many important pieces return this season that include six players from the championship squad.
Juniors Claire Johnson and Lizzi Meyer hit .471 and .519, respectively, last season.
Marita VanDyke returns to the mound for the Bruins where she accumulated a 16-1 record, a 1.16 ERA to go along with 93 strikeouts. Lacey Meyer and freshman Sydney Lowe will also see pitching time.
Seniors Samme Miller and Sydney Schrack will be called upon to help lead Tri-West.
With the loss of its catcher, Rogers said Schrack and Kristy Rawlings were both “up for the job” and the duo could be “a possible combo for the job.”
Lowe and fellow freshman Kenna Ross will have to get up to speed quickly from their positions in the infield.
“One goal for us this season is to win a conference championship,” Rogers said. “Another sectional championship is our second goal for the season. We have several evenly matched teams in our sectional so improving throughout the season will be a must for us.”
After a 17-11 finish that concluded with a good postseason run that culminated with a 1-0 loss in the semi-state, Plainfield will look to reload this season. The loss of five key seniors will prove hard to replace, but Quakers coach Brad Beaman believes his team is up to the challenge.