Rick Claprood returns for his 13th season as Piqua softball coach.
The Lady Indians finished 13-15 overall last season and were 4-6 in the GWOC North.
Graduating off that team were Jade Piatt and Kendall Grunkemeyer.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Reynna Lavey, Kyla Blankenship and Megan Anderson; juniors Alyssa Jones, Alexis Gordon, Kelsie Hall, Kendra Forness and Rayna Brownlee and sophomores Sarah Marion and Morgan Ford.
“I would expect our team to perform at a high level and work hard striving for perfection,” Claprood said. “Our goal is to hit consistently, field effectively and win one game at a time.
Claprood hopes to contend for the GWOC North title.
Shon Schaffer returns for his third season as coach.
Key returners include senior pitcher Tori Smith, senior catcher Ciara Yohey, infielders Amanda Brewer and Bailey Wysong and All-CCC outfielder Olivia Hart.
“We have lost 4 years in a row by one run in the sectional finals,” Schaffer said. “It is time to get that monkey off our backs.”
Dean Deanlinger returns as Covington coach.
The Lady Buccs finished 27-2 overall last season and were a perfect 12-0 in the CCC.
Graduating off that team were Morgan Arbogast, Cassidy Cain, and Jessica Dammeyer.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Arianna Richards and Brooke Gostomsky, juniors Justice Warner, Allison Babylon, Lexie Long, Kara Schaffer, Addison Metz, Megan Alexander and Ashley Cecil; and sophomores Emma Dammeyer, Taylor Ray, Sarah Hubbord and Noelle Gast.
“We want to build good ‘teach and trust’ relationships within the team,” Denlinger said. “We strive to give 100 percent every day and be the best.”
Denlinger expects the CCC to be very competitive this season.
” It is a very strong league this year with a lot of parity,” Denlinger said. “We want to finish the league with a good positive team identity and strong preparation for the tournament.”
Brent New is back for his 19th season as Houston coach.
The Wildcats were 17-10 overall last season 10-2 in the SCAL.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Micalah Hensley, Kayla New, Macey Stang and Grace Riffell; juniors Jenna Jarrett ad Katylyn Riffell and sophomores Rebekah New and Sarah Monnier.
New was 13-7 last year with a 2.85 ERA, while Stang was 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA.
Monnier led the hitter with a .440 average, while Stang, Hensley and Jarrett all batted over .300.
Top Newcomers include sophomore Brooklyn Felver and freshmen Emilee Foster on the mound and junior Brittany Timmerman and senior Jenna Mounts in the field.
“We have a very good incoming freshmen class that will blend very well with our returning players and push them for playing time,” New said. “I am looking forward to a good year. We have another very tough schedule to play, so hopefully the girls will be up for that challenge.”
New hopes to challenge for the SCAL title.
Bill Booth will add to his 27-year career this season at Lehman. He is looking to improve on last year’s two-win season, but will have to do it with an extremely young team — of the 22 players out, 18 are either freshmen or sophomores.
“We’re really young this season,” said Booth. “The pitchers have been working extremely hard and show improvement, and we have a lot of young talent. I think we will be a much-improved team.”
Despite the youth, he has eight girls returning from last season. Two are seniors in Allie Hall and Sidney Chapman. Chapman, the shortstop, had a big year at the plate, hitting .453. And Hall is back at first and hit .299 last season.
The rest of the letter-winners are sophomores in Brogan McIver, Lauren Larger, Hailey Wick, Amanda Titterington, Maddy McFarland and Caitlin Swallow.
Wick will be the top pitcher, and be throwing to both Swallow and Grace Monnin, a freshman.
Titterington hit .312 last season and will play at second base, but third base will be a battle among Camille Odle, Grace Brandt and Carly Edwards.
McIver returns in the outfield and brings back a .339 batting average from last season. McFarland will also roam the outfield.
Michaela Nenninger takes over as Miami East coach.
Nenninger played college softball at Urbana University and has coached the Miami Valley Xpress Gold and Miami County Blaze over the last six years.
She was varsity assistant for three years and JV coach for two years at Milton-Union.
The Lady Vikings were 15-11 overall last season and 9-3 in the CCC.
Graduating off that team were Kris Bigelow, Olivia Edgell, Rachel Hawkins and Riann Kingrey.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Megan Pettit, Meagan Caudill, Jenna Patton and Kati Runner; juniors Alyssa Francis and Emily Hawkins; and sophomores Anna Jacomet and Emily Thimmes.
“The girls have been working extremely hard in leadership, bonding and communication,” Nenninger said. “I am extremely excited to see what the girls can provide on and off the field. Our goal for this year is to be more competitive at bat and on the field in order to take care of business.”
Mark Gibson takes over after the retirement of coaching legend Kirk Kadel.
Graduating off last year’s team were Megan Rutledge, Laura Burden and Erin Hixon.
Returning letterwinners included seniors Teagan Casey, McKell Deaton, Madison Mollette, Laura Oaks and Rylee Schauer; and sophomores Kylee Fisher, Britney Oburn, Haley Pack, Kristen Rappold and Kacie Tackett.
“Our team goals include learn at least one thing from each game we play,” Gibson said. “Make sure each player knows and understands their role and how to contribute. Win the freebie war each game, start a new culture of Newton softball, give 100 percent effort and attitude and trust and have confidence in the team.”
Gibson’s expectations are to be better by the end of the season than they are at the beginning and to be able to compete with every team in the Cross County Conference.
Michelle Muhlenkamp is back for her third season as Russia softball coach.
The Lady Raiders finished 18-10 last season.
Returning letterwinners include juniors Maddie Borchers, Maria Herron and Katie Swartz; and sophomores Lexi Monnin, Grace Saunders, Lauren Monnin, Kylee Sherman, Mishaylee O’Riley and Claudia Counts (injured last year).
Saunders was 10-6 with a 3.5 ERA last spring, while Borchers was 8-5 with a 4.70 ERA.
All-Ohio catcher Maria Herron returns after batting .538 last year with 12 doubles and six triples.
Shortstop Lexi Monnin batted .371 with 24 stolen bases.
Also returning is Swartz, who batted .308 and is an outstanding defensive centerfielder.
Top newcomers include Shea Borchers, Kennedie Goubeaux, Savana Albers and Jenna Cordonnier.
“This is a really big year for us,” Muhlenkamp said. “Some young athletes will be 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 has high hopes in the SCAL.
“There is some very tough competition every year in the Shelby County League,” Muhlemkamp said. “Last year we fell short in a few big league games. This year, with our expectations and goals set high, we are working very hard to make improvements to lock in those big league wins this year.”