Waynesboro hunting down Colonial softball title
Coach: Mark DeCarli, fifth season, 73-25 (.745)
Last season: 19-6 (8-2 Mid Penn Colonial Division champions); lost in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament to Abington Heights, 5-3.
Returning starters: Ally Brown (sr., OF/P, P.O. First Team); Alicen Hoover (sr., 1B, P.O. Second Team); Morgan Wagaman (sr., CF, P.O. Honorable Mention); Ali Sherman (sr., 2B); MacKenzie Oberholzer (sr., 3B/C); Abby Reitz (sr., SS/P); Jenny Carty (sr., OF/DP); Olivia Remenick (jr., OF/P)
Other top players: Hailey Long (so., 3B); Baylee Schaeffer (fr., 3B)
Outlook: DeCarli said, "Our goal every year is to get a division title, and we want to get back into that district title game. This group reminds me of the first year when I came on; we had eight seniors, and this year, we have seven. They gel well together, and we have younger girls that fit in well, too, so I think we're going to be pretty tough."
Notes: Last season, Greencastle advanced to the District 3 Class 3A final before being edged by Donegal, 6-5 ... Hannah Beeler (so., 3B) fractured her knuckle during preseason and will be out for six weeks ... Brown, Remenick, Carty and Reitz could all see some time in the circle ... G-A did a series of renovations on its softball field, including a new infield mix, leveling out the outfield and putting in a warning track.
Season opener: Friday, at Cedar Cliff, 4:15
Coach: Troy Pittman, second year.
Last season: 10-9 (4-6 Mid Penn Colonial Division); lost in the first round of the District 3 Class 3A playoffs to Lampeter-Strasburg, 7-3.
Returning starters: Jenna Mongold (so., P/IF, P.O. First Team); Maria Burkett (so., C); Cara Bender (sr., 3B); Carly Caron (jr., OF)
Other top players: Alyssa Blair (so., OF); Paige Doyle (fr., IF); Maddie Bailey (fr., IF); Kyrstin Nichols (so., IF); Grace Amsley (so., OF)
Outlook: Pittman said, "I don't know if I have any expectations at this point. We just want to get out on the field and see how our younger players will adapt to playing varsity softball. We want to compete, but we lost a lot and we just have to see how our younger players are going to fill their shoes."
Notes: The Rockets lost Taryn Miller, a P.O. First Team Selection, to graduation ... Bender is the only senior on the roster ... Lizzie Pittman (so., P) may see some time in the circle, but Mongold will be the Rockets' No. 1 this season.
Season opener: Monday, at home vs. Red Land, 4:30.
Coach: Mike Peters, eighth season, 89-53 (.627)
Last season: 12-7 (6-4 Mid Penn Colonial Division)
Returning starters: Courtney Coy (sr., P/IF, P.O. First Team); Morgan Fetter (jr., C, P.O. First Team); Sami Barmont (jr., IF, P.O. Second Team); Amber Orndorff (so., OF, P.O. honorable mention); Maddie Kline (sr., OF); Maddie Miller (sr., IF); Rachel Kline (jr., IF); Emily Wenner (so., P/OF)
Other top players: Kara Bowermaster (sr., IF); Baille Jones (jr., utility); Zoe Holtry (so., utility); Halle Zullinger (so., utility)
Outlook: Peters said, "Even with the challenging weather, our practices have been productive and upbeat. The seniors want to make some noise in their final year, and they've been leading the way so far. We do return a lot of starters, but so do many other teams. The difference will be how that familiarity transfers to the field and who competes to win."
Notes: Ashley Macedo (sr., OF, P.O. honorable mention) did not return to the team ... The Lady Hounds don't begin action until April 4, when some of their Colonial Division opponents will be on their fifth game ... Coy returns as Ship's No. 1 pitcher.
Season opener: Tuesday, April 4, at home vs. Waynesboro, 4:15
Coach: Aaron Burke, second year
Last year: 13-7 (7-3 Mid Penn Colonial Division); lost in the first round of the District 3 Class 4A tournament to Penn Manor.
Returning starters: Jenna Powell (jr., 3B, P.O. First Team); Katie Wise (sr., CF, P.O. Second Team); Chelsea Cover (sr., C, P.O. Second Team); Sara Gsell (sr., SS, P.O. honorable mention); Abby Ebersole (sr., RF); Elizabeth Churchman (sr., 2B); Lauren Hunsecker (so., P); Caitlyn Pollock (jr., P).
Other top players: Mac Miller (so., 3B); Alexis Rosenberry (fr., OF); Hannah Wile (sr., 1B)
Outlook: Burke said, "Everybody worked real hard in the offseason, and we've already built upon last year. The other thing is even though we lost two key players, we gained just as much, if not more, moving forward with some of the freshmen. We have a ridiculous offense, and defensively, we're solid. If we have one question mark, it's our pitching."
Notes: Waynesboro saw a big turnaround during Burke's first year; the Maidens were 5-15 in 2015 ... P.O. first-team selection Nicole Kriemer was the biggest loss to graduation ... Burke said he thinks Waynesboro, Greencastle and Shippensburg will be the top dogs in the division this season.
Season opener: Friday, at Lower Dauphin, 4:15