land (Fr. pitcher/infield).
“We hope to be strong up the middle with our catcher, shortstop, and pitcher returning,” head coach Brett Ireland said. “We need to continue to work hard and improve throughout the season. Hopefully we are playing our best when the playoffs come around. Our playoff region got tougher this year with Bo Manor and Perryville coming into it, so we want to be playing our best when the playoffs come around.”
Easton, led by Joy Kolakowski on the mound, went 15-4 overall last season and 10-2 in the North.
The Warriors may be starting as many as five freshmen, but they also may have a formidable senior on the mound in left-hander Peyton Elzey.
In 2016, Elzey only allowed 45 hits in 47.6 innings for a 2.79 earned-run average, while striking out 47 batters. Her time was limited last season due to injury, but she played with a travel team, the Gold Coast Hurricanes 18U National Team, last summer. In 65 innings pitched, she allowed just 45 hits and 22 earned runs for a 2.36 ERA.
Ninth-grader Udairi Jackson will play catcher. The infield looks like Jess Millard (Fr.) at first, Olivia Ball (So.) at second, Chloe Briner (Fr.) at third, and Olivia Brown (Fr.) at shortstop. Starting outfielders will likely be Megan Kolakowski (Jr.) in left, Kate Chapple (Fr.) in center, and Charlotte Frase (Sr.) in right. Megan Kettering (So.) will DH.
“We have a young team this year but look to be competitive,” Warriors head coach Jen Powell said. “This team is very close and more of a family already. Excited for the season with a wonderful group girls that are eager to learn and compete.”
The Buccaneers finished above .500 last season, which is not an easy task in the Bayside Conference.
“The girls have worked extremely hard this offseason,” Bucs head coach Bryon Sofinowski said. “We are hoping to build off of our record of 9-8. This was KI’s best record since 2007. Trying to stay competitive with powerhouse teams on the Shore.”
On the mound for the Bucs will be sophomore Katie Sonneveldt and junior Julia Fitzpatrick. Rounding out the probable starting lineup are: Jess Balderson (Fr., C), Maggie Brown (Sr., 1B), Alyssa Sofinowski (So., 2B), Kimmie Palace (Sr., SS), Kennedy Warren (So., 3B), Emily Blum (So., CF), Lily Golbembowski (So., LF), and Allie Curry (Jr., RF).
The Bulldogs aren’t resting on their laurels.
“We had a great season last year, but that is done with and this is a new season,” head coach Andrea Ward said. “We know that we have to come out this year and put in a lot of time and hard work every day because there is a lot of great competition in our division and in the Bayside. Our motto last year was ‘One game at a time’ and that still holds true this year; we are just hoping to be competitive with all of the strong teams that we are about to face. We are lucky enough to have a great group of girls that love each other and love putting in the time and they are ready to play the game that they know and love.”
Seniors Emily Ward, Mackenzie Werner, and Megan Robbins, and sophomore Sarah Kintop all may see time on the mound when they’re not playing in the field. Senior Sarah Mast returns behind the plate. Kendall Dixon (Sr.) plays second and either Hayden Smith (Jr.) or Lauren Williamson (So.) will play third. Outfielders are seniors Abigail Trice in left, Alison Ward in center, and Azalie Haro in right.
Dixon homered in the first inning for North Caroline in the state final last season, and Robbins knocked in all three Bulldog runs in the state semifinal and three runs in the final.
Nine players return with varsity experience for the Lions who look to battle this year. Bolstering the roster will be four freshmen and a transfer student.
“With the experience of key returners and the versatility of underclassmen, the Lions are rebuilding for a competitive season and bright future,” head coach Kim Betts said.
Queen Anne’s hurlers are Leah Bradley (Sr.), Camryn Wingate (So.), and Cameron Whiteford (Fr). Ninth-grader Kamryn Brandt will play catcher. Infielders are Lindsay Ray (Jr.) at first, Sydney Parsons (Sr.) at second, Whiteford or Maddie Tisher (So.) at third, and Taylor Walls (So.) at shortstop.
Outfieders are Julia Smith (So.), Breanna Athey (Fr.), and Alyson Hall (Jr.).