Area's Sideling Hill/ICC softball preview
Coach: Michael DeAngelo, third season, 8-32 (.200).
Last season: 3-17 (2-14 Sideling Hill, 2-12 Inter-County Conference).
Returning starters: Mandy Swailes (sr., C), Emily Metcalfe (jr., SS), Brooke Harris (jr., P), Makayla O'Donel (jr., CF), Kassie Holtry (so., P/3B), Taylor Coffman (so., LF).
Other top players: Claudia Umbrell (so., 1B), Jamie Adams (fr., RF), Morgan Ritchey (fr., SS).
Outlook: DeAngelo said, "As a program, we have the numbers. Our work as coaches is to make sure they're game ready. Eight wins got you into the playoffs last year, and playoffs are always the goal. It would be nice to return Fannett-Metal to the district playoffs."
Notes: F-M won the state championship in 2012, but has not won a playoff game since ... Harris and Holtry are the team's top pitchers; DeAngelo said: "They're really a No. 1 or 2; they're more a 1A and 1B."
Next game: Monday, at Hancock, 4:30.
Coach: Junior Swope, second year, 1-18 (.053).
Last year: 1-18 (1-15 Sideling Hill, 1-13 Inter-County Conference).
Returning starters: Carly Swope (jr., P/CF, P.O. honorable mention), Bridgette Ritchey (jr., 3B, P.O. honorable mention), Justice Seville (jr., C/P), Madison Koontz (so., SS), Tara Cutchall (so., DH/OF/1B).
Other top players: Kylie Keefer (sr., 1B), Lindsay Randler (jr., OF/IF), Samantha Hensley (fr., P/2B).
Outlook: Swope said, "We're shooting for districts. If we can win half our games, I'll be happy. Last year, we gave a lot away on a lot of walks and errors. We've been stressing that this spring, and we're just trying to make up for lost time."
Notes: McConnellsburg's only win last season came against Fannett-Metal, 16-7 ... The Spartans were shut out six times last year ... Keefer and Randler both came back after not playing last season ... Swope will once again be the Spartans' top pitcher ... They have just one senior on the roster.
Next game: Tuesday, at home vs. Everett, 4:30.
Southern Fulton Indians
Coach: Melissa Mackel, first year.
Last year: 7-12 (5-11 Sideling Hill, 5-9 Inter-County Conference).
Returning starters: Victoria Bernard (sr., CF), Lakyn Morton (sr., 2B), Erica Hoffman (jr., SS, P.O. honorable mention), Maddie Baker (jr., LF/P).
Other top players: Cheyenne Miller (fr., P), Makaylee Smith (fr., P), Courtney Barton (jr., 1B), Janelle Appel (so., RF), Shaye Smartt (sr., C).
Outlook: Mackel said, "We're really young, which is a blessing, but also scary for my first year of coaching. That's going to give us areas to improve on and grow on. I'm just really looking forward to the young kids getting some experience, and having our three seniors provide them with good guidance."
Notes: Top pitcher Olivia Mottern did not return to the team in order to focus on basketball ... Mackel was a volunteer coach last year, and she coached junior high for eight years ... Smartt rejoins the team after missing her sophomore and junior seasons ... Mackel takes over for Stacy Smith, who coached for six years (53-64, .453).
Next game: Tuesday, at home vs. Tussey Mountain, 4:30.
Forbes Road Cardinals
Coach: Pete Hall, first year.
Last season: 10-9 (9-7 Sideling Hill, 9-5 Inter-County Conference).
Returning starters: Olivia Hall (jr., SS), Lillie Wilt (jr., utility), Kristina Parsons (jr., P/IF), Courtney Schoen (so., P/IF, P.O. Second Team)
Other top players: Malea Truax (sr., OF), Montana Bolinger (sr., OF), Maddy Miller (so., OF), Mara Broadwater (fr., IF), Brianna Waters (fr., IF), Payton Watkins (fr., utility)
Outlook: Hall said, "We're very tight with numbers, which seems to be the norm for our teams across all sports of late. Hopefully, we can keep everyone on the field for the entire season. Our returning core of starters brings a lot of experience, and we'll depend upon them to lead the team."
Notes: Maiah Mellott will likely not play this season, as she is rehabbing an ACL injury ... Truax returns from an injury last year ... Former pitcher Haley Lashinsky is now playing for Laroche College ... Pete Hall was an assistant last season ... Beth Bryant, who went back to school for her master's, was last year's P.O. Coach of the Year; in four years, her record was 29-48 (.377).
Next game: Tuesday, at Fannett-Metal, 4:30.