Eighteen players have signed up to be a part of Lady Wildcat softball at Paden City High School for the 2012 season. A number head coach Jeanne Fox says she is excited to work with.
"This is a great group of girls," she said. "They have a great work ethic and are excited to get our season started. They're ready to play ball."
The team will be led by two seniors this season, returners, Dominique Craft and Amanda Heasley. Craft will start at her tried and true catcher position while Heasley will hold down third throughout the year.
Junior returners on the team include pitching ace Kelsey Loy, the go-to girl in the circle for the 'Cats; Lynah Stanley in the outfield; and Hailey Wade also in the outfield. Mara Greathouse and Samantha Lyons will be utilized in the field as well.
Only one sophomore, Katie Shreves, returns to the Wildcat line up, likely seeing time in an outfield position, and perhaps behind the plate.
Freshmen making the varsity cut for the Green and White include: Megan Pierce backing up third and playing in the field; Hannah Stanley at second base; Graeson Baker, first base; Kayla Hizer, center field; Kayla Barker, outfield; Amber Neff, short-stop; Mallory Estel, catcher/outfield; and Tori Anderson, left field.
Also in the freshmen line-up are Cierra Yoho, Tara Lewis, and Nikki Little, all looking to take over varsity positions as the season continues.
As for pitching, the 'Cats are easily four deep behind the arm of Loy. Seeing time in the circle for the Green will be Heasley, Hizer and Neff, with a few others still trying out their arms.
As it is with softball, the coach counts "youth" as both the teams greatest strength and weakness. "Youth is our greatest strength because we have so many freshmen out for the team and they are so enthusiastic and ready to play," Fox said. "Plus it bodes well for the future of the program. But it's also our weakness because the majority of them have not been put in game situations yet and assistant coach Vance Ash and I have no idea how they will react. We'll just have to wait and see."
All told, the Lady 'Cats have two seniors, one sophomore, five juniors and 10 freshmen taking the field in 2012, and will field a junior varsity squad again this season.
"We're scheduling junior varsity games with as many teams as we can," Fox said. "We need to get all of our kids as much playing time as we can."
Rain has already determined the outcome of a game or two for the Ladies in Green. With luck, and sunshine, the team will host the Hundred Lady Hornets on March 21 and Cameron on March 22. On March 24 the team will host Beallsville at 1:30 p.m. for an afternoon game.