Rick Claprood returns for his 15th season as Piqua softball coach.
Claprood passed 300 career wins last spring.
The Indians were 12-15 overall and 7-8 in GWOC American play last year.
Graduating off that team were four-year starters Lexi Gordon and Alyssa Jones.
Gordon, a second baseman, will play for Sinclair; while Jones, a shortstop, will play for Edison State.
Also graduating were catcher Rayna Brownlee, who will play for Edison State; along with outfielders Kendra Forness and Ally Popp.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Sarah Marion and Lily Stewart; juniors Mariah Blankenship, Haleigh Beougher, Kylie Trissell, Kamy Trissell and Jazmine Latimer and sophomores Kathy Young and Hannah Anderson.
Blakenship had a 12-14 record on the mound, with a 4.78 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 161 innings.
She batted .354 with four home runs, six doubles and 21 RBIs.
Kamy Trissell batted .302 with six RBIs, Anderson batted .289 with six doubles and 10 RBIs and Marion batted .232, with a double, triple and 12 RBIs.
Piqua will open the season in Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando — the Piqua program’s sixth time of making that trip.
“Our goal while in Florida is to practice hard and win our games,” Claprood said. “Once we return to Piqua, we will focus on competing in the GWOC North conference and playing hard to finish strong in both our league and non-league games.”
Also working their way into the lineup will be freshman Kennedy Fashner (pitcher, first baseman) and outfielder Paige Hinkle (second baseman, shortstop).
“We are young,” Claprood said. “If our freshman and sophomore class perform to our expectations, we will be strong. Our senior and junior class have already proven themselves and will play at a high level. I believe we will compete with the other five teams in the GWOC North division. It should be a battle because of all the teams in this division graduated quality athletes.”
Claprood hopes to be right in the mix for the league title.
Shon Schaffer returns for his fifth season as coach.
The Railroaders were 11-11 overall and 7-5 in the CCC.
Graduating off that team were four-year lettermen Olivia Hart (centerfield) and three-year lettermen Amanda Brewer (shortstop) , Ally Booker (third base) and Tatyana Cotrell (pitcher).
Returning letterwinners include seniors Bailey Wysong, Chelsea Gill, Hannah Fout and Aspen Weldy; and juniors Bianca Keener, Elisa Martinez and Macie Reck.
“With six freshman on the varsity this year, I am looking for good leadership with my upperclassmen,” Schaffer said. “And win or lose, be in every game at the end.”
Schaffer hopes to finish in the top half of the CCC.
Phil Smith takes over as coach.
He has five years experience coaching at Troy Junior High, as well as seven years coaching travel ball.
Covington was 9-7 overall last year and 9-3 in the CCC.
Graduating off that team were Ashley Cecil, Lexie Long, Addison Metz, Kara Schaffer and Justice Warner.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Emma Dammeyer, Sarah Hubbard and Noelle Gast; juniors Chelsea Ford and Makenna Gostomsky and sophomores Kirsti Barnes, Layklyn Kemp, Kenzie Long and Morgan Studebaker.
“We want to motivate the players to keep their grades up, keep themselves healthy and to reach the regionals,” Smith said.
Brent New returns for his 21st season and has a record of 334-213.
The Lady Wildcats were 14-12 overall and year ago and 9-3 in the SCAL.
Graduating off that team were Kaytlyn Riffell and Jenna Jarrett.
Returning lettermen include seniors Sarah Monnier, Rebekah New and Brooklyn Felver.
Monnier, the catcher, batted .425 last season; while New batted .324 from her second base position.
Felver had a 7-5 record on the mound with a 3.07 ERA and .275 batting average.
The returning juniors include third baseman Olivia Browser, pitcher Emilee Foster, centerfielder Addie White and first baseman Jess Monnier.
Browser batted .365 a year ago, while Foster was 7-7 on the mound with a .483 ERA and batted .333.
White batted .355 and Monnier hit .339.
Also returning is sophomore Alllisen Foster.
The shortstop batted .340 last year.
“I expect to have an improved season this year in all aspects of the game,” New said. “We have many girls back who now have valuable experience that they didn’t have last year. We are playing a very challenging schedule, so hopefully, the girls are up to the task.”
New expects to be in the top three in the SCAL.
Bill Booth is back for his 30th season as coach.
The Lady Cavaliers were 10-12 last season and 5-7 in the NWCC.
Graduating off that team were Sidney Chapman, Camille Odle and Kara Gillman.
Returning letterwinners include Hailey Wick, Abigail Schutte, Carly Edwards, Angela Brunner, Brogan McIver, Maddy McFarland, Grace Monnin, Grace Brandt and Amanda Titterington.
“This year’s team is going to be very experienced,” Booth said. “We have four seniors that are four year starters. We also have three juniors that are three year starters. I think we will be very solid offensively and defensively.
“We have five girls that have been pitching a lot this spring. I really believe our pitching will be a lot better this year. We have a very tough schedule but the girls are up for the challenge.”
Booth expects to be one of the top teams in the NWCC and expects Riverside to have a strong team as well.
After two years away, Brian Kadel returns as Miami East softball coach. Kadel coached the team from 2009-15.
He takes over a program that was 0-17 last year and 0-12 in the CCC.
Graduating off that team were Emily Hawkins and Alyssa Francis.
Returning letterwinners include senior Anna Jacomet, juniors Samantha Urban, Faith Robinson, Ashley Covault and Alyssa Bowman and sophomores Paige Lawson, Emily Adkins and Megan Honeyman.
Jacomet will compete for starting spots in the infield and outfield, while Covault, Bowman and Honeyman will compete for starting spots in the outfield.
Urban will play mostly pitcher and catcher, but has the ability to play any position; while Lawson will pitch and compete for starting spots in the infield and outfield.
Robinson will compete for a starting spot in the infield, while Adkins will help with catching duties and can play multiple infield positions.
“The focus this year is incorporating competition in practices to help the team compete in games,” Kadel said. “”The team is working extremely hard to make daily improvements that will have positive results once we begin playing games. Five freshman will compete for starting positions and help the team compete on a daily basis.”
The freshman included Katie Niswonger, Arielle Barnes, Cassidy Walker, Morgan Hamby, and Abigail Covault.
Kadel sees the CCC as being strong again.
“Newton returns a lot of talent and has good young talent to add this year making them very deep,” he said. “They should finish near the top of the league along with Covington, National Trail, Bradford and Arcanum. The league is usually very competitive and always has a team or two who surprises people.”
Mark Gibson returns for his third season as coach.
The pitchers will include Kristen Rappold, Erin Norman and Brooke Deeter; while the catchers will be Haley Pack, Marissa Deeter and Maddi Weaver.
The infielders include Kacie Tackett, Kara Chaney, Baily Chaney, Kylee Fisher, Brooke Deeter, Mallory Dunlevy and Erin Norman and the outfielders include Ashlyn Deeter, Mallory Dunlevy, Brooke Deeter, Maddi Weaver and Marissa Deeter.
“Our goal is to come together as a team over the course of the season and become one,” Gibson said. “We will follow our core principles each day: Trust, Relentless, Integrity, Be Selfless, Energy (TRIBE).”
Michelle Muhlenkamp returns for her fifth season as coach.
After playing softball for Wright State, she has a record of 70-38 at Russia.
The Lady Raiders finished 20-7 a year ago.
Graduating off that team were Maria Herron, Maddie Borchers and Katie Swartz.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Lexi Monnin, Grace Saunders, Lauren Monnin, Kylee Sherman and Claudia Counts; and juniors Jenna Cordonnier and Shea Borchers.
Also back are juniors Kennedie Goubeaux and Savannah Albers.
“This is a really big year for Russia,” Muhlenkamp said. “We have many positions filled with veteran seniors who hold themselves to the high goal of winning a league title again this year and making a run in tournament. On the flip side, we will have some young athletes working very hard to step into some key positions this year.
“There is a tremendous amount of athletic talent on this team and our expectations are very high this year. The coaching staff believes that we have such an extraordinary group of dedicated, hardworking and talented girls. I know we are going to play some great softball this year.”
Muhlenkamp hopes to defend the SCAL title.
“Last year we were Shelby County League champs and undefeated in league play,” Muhlenkamp said. “Also, we tied for league champs the year before. There is some very tough competition ever year in the SCAL. This year we are looking to take care of business in all County games to once again have the title of league champions.
“We have some amazing senior leadership with six incredible seniors and they will be our driving force.”
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