North Penn pitcher Jackie Bilotti (23) delivers to a Pennridge batter during their playoff contest on Saturday, May 25, 2013.
North Penn pitcher Jackie Bilotti (23) delivers to a Pennridge batter during their playoff contest on Saturday, May 25, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

Graduation is something that high school coaches can't avoid. It comes around every spring.

The local softball coaches all know that and would like to keep their graduating seniors around for just a little while longer.

But those graduating seniors have other ideas. They want to go on to college and play some intercollegiate softball. And many of them do.

It would probably figure that the team that advanced the farthest would be the one hit the hardest with graduation. And it was.

North Penn, which reached the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals before losing to Neshaminy 3-2 last spring, had five starters graduate. That would seem to strip the Maidens down to the bare essentials on the field.

The Christopher Dock softball team rallies together between innings of their contest against Bristol at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School on Thursday,
The Christopher Dock softball team rallies together between innings of their contest against Bristol at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School on Thursday, May 9, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

But that would be incorrect. Coach Rick Torresani, who has won 280 games in his 14-year career with the Maidens, has a strong nucleus of experienced players coming back for the 2014 season — six to be exact — along with several players who got some playing time last season.

On the other end of that spectrum is Christopher Dock. The Pioneers, who won the District One AA title last year, graduated no one.

Wissahickon has a new coach on he bench this season. Crystalrae States, a Pennridge graduate who coached two years at Abington Friends, takes over for John Bilella this year.

Of course, every coach expects to be able to put a competitive team on the field. And the nine teams in The Reporter coverage area are no exceptions.

Central Bucks West

Head Coach: Jim Taylor

Last Season: 1-19 (0-14 Suburban One League Continental Conference)

Key Losses: Gina Schnecker

Key Returners: Amanda Wolfgang (Sr., OF), Angelina Refice (Sr., OF), Jessica D'Agostino (Sr., 3B), Rebecca Cassel (So., C)

Lansdale Catholic pitcher Danielle Eckroth (1) delivers to a Archbishop Ryan batter as a runner takes a lead off of first during their playoff contest at
Lansdale Catholic pitcher Danielle Eckroth (1) delivers to a Archbishop Ryan batter as a runner takes a lead off of first during their playoff contest at Lansdale Catholic High School on Thursday, May 16, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

Outlook: Five position players return from a team that struggled last season. While they have that experience, none of the pitchers has ever pitched a varsity game. The team will be better but will have to be lucky as well as good to get more wins.

Christopher Dock

Head Coach: Wayne Benner

,b>Last Season: 14-7 (9-3 Bicentennial Athletic League), District 1-AA champion, overall lost to Pen Argyl in PIAA AA first round.

Key Losses: None.

Key Returners: Sarah Ryder (Sr., INF), Lauren Weidler (Jr., P), Emma Lewis (Jr., 1B), Emily Gordon (Jr., C)

Others to Watch: Cassidy Jagiela (Jr., OF), Ella Barlick (So., 2B)

North Penn’s Vicky Tumasz (22) attempts to pull in a Bensalem foul ball during their contest at North Penn High School on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
North Penn's Vicky Tumasz (22) attempts to pull in a Bensalem foul ball during their contest at North Penn High School on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

Strengths: No losses to graduation and post-season experience

Outlook: With a small roster, there is a need to stay injury-free. We look to defend the District One AA championship.

Gwynedd Mercy

Head Coach: Charlie Ball

Assistant Coach: John Golden

Last Season: 6-13 (5-9 league)

Key Loss: Krista Goepfrich

Key Returners: Sarah Carey, Anna Gillespie, Jess Behr, Jess Campbell, Bella Urie, Erin Barras

Others to Watch: Alyssa Myers, Christina Shrager, Gab Salamone, Tara Sheahan

Strength: Pitching and speed

Lansdale Catholic pitcher Ashley Seal (8) delivers to a Pennridge batter during their contest on Friday, May 10, 2013.
Lansdale Catholic pitcher Ashley Seal (8) delivers to a Pennridge batter during their contest on Friday, May 10, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

Outlook: This should be a competitive team. A lot will depend on the young players filling some key positions.

Lansdale Catholic

Head Coach: Paul Suder

Last Season: 14-7 (9-3 Philadelphia Catholic League)

Key Losses: Kate Beck

Key Returners: Alicia Kradzinski (1B), Bridey Harkins (2B), Amanda Bradley (SS), Alyssa Messina (3B), Kristin Szczepaniak (LF), Greta Sheridan (CF), Jenna Gibbons (RF), Danielle Eckroth (P), Ashley Seal (P)

Others to Watch: Kaelyn Motts (C), Alessandra Messina (C)

Strength: Lots of experience

Outlook: Looking for good things from a senior-led team

Methacton

Head Coach: Cathy Miller

Assistant Coaches: Candace Clark, Niki Brislin

Last Season: 16-6 (14-4 PAC-10) lost to Central Bucks East in District 1-AAAA second round

Key Losses: Jordyn Prutzer, Katie Civitello, Rachel Picozzi, Allie Parente

Key Returners: Emily Harris (Sr., C), Julie Primavera (Sr., LF), Sarah Rambo (Sr., 3B), Amanda Kulp (Jr., SS), Rachel Triantafilou (Jr., Utility)

Others to watch: Natalie Damato (So., OF), Dani Duda (So., OF), Paulina Lowery (So., 2B), Emily Stauffer (So., P)

Outlook: We expect to be competitive again this season. We have a solid core of returning players. The sophomores are a talented group who had some varsity playing time last season. Key will be to play solid defense to support our young pitching staff.

North Penn

Coach: Rick Torresani

Assistant Coaches: Shannon McCracken, Beth Everest

Last Season: 18-10, (7-7 SOL Continental), fourth place District 1-AAAA, lost to Neshaminy in PIAA AAAA semifinals.

Key Losses: Michelle Holweger (Lock Haven), Melissa Fasick, Hannah Sheehan, Alexa Gable, Jen Holcavage, Morgan Wiernusz

Key Returners: Erin Maher (Sr., SS), Vicky Tumasz (Sr., 1B), Meghan Curley (Sr., 3B), Alyssa Shoulberg (Sr., RF), Jackie Bilotti (Jr., P), Becky Christoffers (Jr., C)

Others to Watch: Lauren Ostopowicz (Sr., OF, 2B), Danya Briefer (Sr. INF), Hannah Uhler (Jr., LF), Nicole Yanni (Jr., INF), Alexa Sinn (So., CF), Celeste Rosato (1B, OF)

Strengths: Experience in key positions, experience in the District One and PIAA playoffs

Outlook: "No excuses'

Pennridge

Head Coach: Paul Koehler

Assistant Coaches: LeeAnn Kramer, Tyler Penhallow, Brittany Sparling

Last Season: 14-9 (8-6 SOL Continental), lost to North Penn in District 1-AAAA quarterfinals

Key Losses: Brooke Labs (Marywood), Paige DeCew (West Chester)

Key Returners: Haley Taylor (Sr., SS), Emily Mayhew (Sr., LF), Bridget Casey (Sr., CF), Alison Horne (Sr., RF), Morgan Labs (Jr., 1B)

Others to Watch: Briana Gery (So., 2B), Liv Campbell (So., C)

Strengths: Our outfield should be very strong. Middle infield and first base should be solid defensively. The biggest question mark will be pitching. We will start untested pitchers from last year's JV team.

Outlook: Competing in this division is always a tough challenge. We hope to compete. We hope to reach district playoffs again.

Souderton

Head Coach: Stephanie Rummel

Assistant Coaches: Philip Rummel, Malli Shelly

Last Season: 12-9 (7-7 SOL Continental), lost to Upper Darby in District 1-AAAA first round

Key Losses: Nikki Canfield, Sarah Derstine, Meg Roynan, Salina Allebach

Key Returners: Paige Shelly, Erelle Sowers, Haley Delany, Amanda Brush

Others to Watch: Morgan Yoder, Heather Millagin, Dayna Shelly, Angie Carty

Strengths: Our offense is going to be a powerful aspect of our game. Our defense is expected to keep us in tight games as well as bring consistency.

Outlook: Looking for a great season with a run for a playoff berth

Wissahickon

Head Coach: Crystalrae States

Last Season: 10-9 (8-6 SOL American)

Key Losses: Ashley Anderson, Alex Comonitski, Meredith Byrne, Kelli Gillman, Emma Goodrich

Key Returners: Emily Kaissi (Sr., OF), Brittany Gelman (Jr., OF), Donna Intintolo (Jr., 3B)

Others to Watch: Michela Coleman (Fr., C), Sabrina Marinucci (So., P)

Strengths: We are comprised of young, athletic talent. We should be able to run on teams and play a good short game.

Outlook: This team is very capable of being a contender for playoffs this year as long as they can be consistent. This season is going to be about team. They are really going to have to rally around each other to be successful.