By Chris Parker
Hartville will look to get back above .500 this year after finishing 10-12 overall last season. The Lady Eagles will have to replace a senior class that included four all-district players.
Two senior leaders this year will be Maddie Vaughn (catcher) and Carley Calton (shortstop).
“Maddie and Carly, being seniors, have the most varsity experience. They both are hard workers, like to win, and lead by example,” Hartville head coach Karissa McNiel said.
Juniors Alexus Walker (IF/OF/C) and CJ Todd (outfield) also have the potential to be team leaders.
Hartville will have up to four players that could be in the mix at pitcher including: Rami Murr (junior), Jerra Cureton (sophomore P/C/IF), Zoey Jordan (junior P/IF) and Jenna Kelley (freshman P/IF/OF).
Carlton and Todd are the only returning starters on the infield and outfield, so Hartville have new players filling out those positions.
“Improvements will be needed in all areas, as we will be a very young team with limited varsity experience,” McNiel said. “I believe our girls will work hard to make improvements and that is all we can expect of them.”
The new group should be a strong defensive unit.
“We believe defense will come around to be a strength for us this year as we determine what position is going to best match the abilities our girls possess,” McNiel said. “After losing six starters to graduation, this year is definitely going to be a rebuilding year. Our younger players have really positive attitudes and want to improve their game. If we will make a commitment as a team to work hard, maintain our positive attitudes, and learn from our mistakes, I believe that good things will happen for us.”
Hartville opens the season on Sept. 1 at Halfway.
“Our expectations for this season are to focus on working hard, learning from our mistakes, and staying positive every single day,” McNiel said. “If we can do this, we could achieve our goal of being contenders for a district title.”