COACHING STAFF: Eric Adkins begins his second season with the Potters. Adkins, a 1998 East Liverpool graduate, replaced Ashley Byrne who spent one season with the Potters.
LAST SEASON: The Potters struggled to a 2-17 record last year after finishing 2-18 in 2010. "I saw a dramatic change from the first half of the season," Adkins said. "It took time to find positions where they felt comfortable. But the final four games, it was a complete turnaround. This year we won't have to spend so much time on just the fundamentals."
East Liverpool’s Brittany Clutter should be one of the Potters’ top offensive threats this season. (Review file photo)
KEY LOSSES: The Potters will be without Sarah Guthrie, one of the team's top hitters, who graduated. "She was a vocal team leader," Adkins said. "We're working now to replace that."
PITCHING: Junior Mary Davis will handle the bulk of the pitching duties this season. "She throws strikes, we're just working on getting a little bit of speed and mixing up pitches," Adkins said. Freshman Lee Smith will also see some mound time.
TOP HITTERS: The Potters top three hitters return to the lineup, including seniors Brittany Clutter (1B) and Katie George (C) and junior Sarah Morrell (SS). All three batted over .450 last season. Senior Alyssa Culp (CF), junior Kelsey Diddle (LF), and freshman Nikayla Edgell (2B) and Smith (3B) will also be expected to contribute offensively. "It could be one of our strengths," Adkins said about the offense. "A few years ago, they were only scoring one or two runs a year. Now, we're playing deeper in games and it could be a strong point for us."
OUTLOOK: "I believe we'll be very competitive," Adkins said. "In a perfect world, we'd go at least .500 this year. But, as long as we double to triple our win total, I'd be happy. We have a schedule with some games we should win."
COACHING STAFF: Mark Cashdollar begins his 15th season with the Beavers. He has compiled a career record of 197-160. Cashdollar will be assisted by Kelly Jones, Jim Jaurrich and Bob Barrett.
LAST SEASON: Beaver Local finished 4-13 a season ago, a four-game drop from 2010 (8-17). "We had a very young team," Cashdollar said. "We never could get into a groove because of the weather. We lost a lot of games on doubleheaders, and the games we had to make up were tough league games. Just nothing fell right for us."
KEY LOSSES: Alisha Jones, the Beavers' main pitcher from last season is gone to graduation as is catcher Jessie Grafton.
PITCHING STAFF: Cashdollar said there are three pitchers would all could see significant mound time this season. Senior Marissa Kiddey leads the way with sophomore Maranda Kiddey and freshman Courtney Messenger also in the mix. "I'm hoping they can find the corners," Cashdollar said. "We need to get away from strikes right down the middle, we need to paint the black."
TOP HITTERS: While the Beavers may have lost their battery, they do return their entire infield. Back is senior Kim Rottelini (1B), juniors Robin Wheeler (2B) and Kayla Dorn (SS), and sophomore Destiny Vishak (3B). Three players are in the mix at catcher, including junior Laine Frampton, Sophomore Paige Prologo and freshman Haylee Glover. "We've had a rough start offensively," Cashdollar said. "Hopefully the hitting comes around. Every day it seems to get better. We'll need everyone to hit this year."
OUTLOOK: "We expect to be above .500," Cashdollar said. "We play a tough schedule with Edison, New Philadelphia, Oak Glen, Steubenville, Weir, East Liverpool. But it's good to have a tough schedule because if you ever want to go anywhere in the playoffs, you have to have played that type of competition."
COACHING STAFF: Barry Keller begins his first season with the Tigers. Keller has worked as a volunteer coach the past six seasons with Wellsville softball and football and coached youth leagues for 15 years. "I'm more than excited," Keller said. "I've been waiting for this opportunity a long time." Keller replaces Gabe Burns who coached the Tigers the past two seasons. Keller will be assisted by Joe Soldano and John Dalrymple.
LAST SEASON: Wellsville won just one game a season ago. "They were in a lot of games, but ended up losing in the last few innings," Keller said.
KEY LOSSES: The Tigers will be without the services of seven graduating seniors, including pitcher Leah Kelly and centerfielder Carli Russell and infielder Brittany Salsbery.
PITCHING STAFF: Sophomore Domenica Cartwright earned a letter for her work on the mound last season and will be the Tigers' ace this year. Freshman Antonia Lombardozzi will also likely see some mound action. "They have two different types of styles," Keller said. "It could be one of our strengths. If not early, definitely later in the season."
TOP HITTERS: Seniors Irene Kiser (C) and Amanda Russell (IF) are expected to be among Wellsville's top offensive threats. Sophomores Samantha Caldwell (3B) and Kalee Powell (CF) appear to have plenty of upside. "I think this is a group that can score some runs," Keller said.
OUTLOOK: The Tigers have only three seniors, but numbers are up (22 total) across the board in Wellsville. "I think a good season would be to give Wellsville it's first winning season," Keller said. "We want to go above .500. I believe that I've got the staff and the players to do it."
COACHING STAFF: Michelle McHaffie enters her fourth season with the Bears. She will be assisted by Sherrie Garner, Mark McHaffie, Gary Wedgewood, Chris Clunk and Scott Pryor.
LAST SEASON: The Bears struggled to a 3-15 record last season, a two-game drop from 2010 (5-25). "We had hitting power, but it was a building year with new pitchers," McHaffie said. "We were very inexeperienced."
KEY LOSSES: The Bears lost four starters to graduation, including Casey Allison (3B), Jessica Swiger (1B), Brittany Behana (C) and Ramsey Patterson (OF). Allison was the team's clean-up hitter. "We've lost valuable experience with these seniors in our batting order, but we're looking for others to step up."
PITCHING STAFF: Junior Jordan Cunningham will handle the bulk of the pitching duties this season. "She has shown good dedication by working year round on pitching and other aspects of the game," McHaffie said. Junior Marissa Murray will also be in the mound mix. "I've seen lots of improvement," McHaffie said. "Defensivley, we should be good, but we've got to keep the ball pitched low and let the defense do the work."
TOP HITTERS: Senior Tayler Maxwell returns to lead off for the Bears. Last season, Maxwell (SS) batted .340 and did not strike out in any of her 53 at bats. Cunningham led the team in batting at .368. Senior Madison McPherson (2B) and junior Casey Patterson (CF) shore up the Bears defense in the middle. "We've got more speed this year," McHaffie said. "If we get on, we can run more."
OUTLOOK: "We only had three wins last year so I'd like to at least double that and look for even more," McHaffie said. "I feel this team is very capable of doing it."