First it was the hardwood. Now it’s hard ball.
The Midland Athletic League girls basketball race became a wild ride with a down-to-the-wire finish. The way things are shaping up, the same thing could happen in softball.
Mohawk has been the reigning MAL power. But New Riegel, coming off a state appearance in girls basketball, Fostoria St. Wendelin and Carey look to have the kind of depth, experience and talent to be right in the hunt for the league title as well.
Carey set a school record for wins last season (17) and returns its entire starting lineup for head coach Eric Mulholland. New Riegel, coming off a 21-6 season, has added some top-notch competition to its schedule and will challenge those teams with a slugging offense that returns seven players who hit over .340. St. Wendelin, state-ranked in girls basketball, should also be strong on the softball diamond with several veterans returning from an 18-9 season.
Other area teams will also be looking to add some league and tournament hardware to the trophy case.
Elmwood, 21-6 last season, is once again the favorite to win the Suburban Lakes League and the Royals will try to live up to those expectations with two-time all-Ohio standout Brooke Morgart and University of Findlay recruit Brittany Dauterman leading the way.
Miller City lost its all-Ohio ace when Lisa Brown graduated., But the Wildcats, who reached the Division IV regional last season, still look like the team to beat as they go after a second straight Putnam County League championship.
Abby Dean, already a three-time first-team all-Blanchard Valley Conference pick, will lead Liberty-Benton in what looks like a tight race in the BVC, and Upper Sandusky returns one of the area’s top players in Rebecca Gamby, a Marshall University recruit who hammered 11 home runs and drove in 23 runs in 2007.
The following are preview capsules for teams around the area. Information was unavailable on teams from Ada, Bettsville, Lakota, Ottawa-Glandorf.
HEAD COACH : Jake Trevino (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 9-15 overall, 5-4 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Katie Boes, sr., P; Desiree Baird, sr., 3B-OF; Katie Wise, sr., OF; Angie Clemons, jr., C; Brittany Johnson, jr., OF-1B; Courtney Garcia, so., SS.
TOP PROSPECTS: Molly Feasel, jr., OF; Kendall Moses, fr., P-3B; Mandy Minard, fr., 2B; Rachelle Palmer, fr., 1B; Jenna Mock, fr., INF-OF; Kristen Cramer, fr., CF.
NOTABLE: Jake Trevino takes over the Arcadia program after previously coaching at Patrick Henry and North Baltimore. He has a solid pitcher in Katie Boes who went 10-5 on the mound last season.
HEAD COACH : Gregg Feller (5th year, 55-34).
2007 RECORD: 13-9 overall, 4-5 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Amber Gast, jr., C; Hillary Hartman, sr., P; Carrie Darnell, jr., IF; Amber Glick, sr., IF; Emilie Haley, sr., OF; Mary Price, soph., OF; Shaunie Rettig, soph., P; Cristyn Scarbrough, jr., OF; Emily Sielschott, sr., IF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Marie Ellerbrock, sr., IF; Alex Myers, jr., OF; Bailey Streib, soph., C-IF; Rochelle Lovelace, jr., OF.
NOTABLE: Rettig earned first-team BVC honors after hitting .349 and going 6-4 with a 1.22 ERA as a pitcher.
HEAD COACH : Dan Gillett (8th year).
2007 RECORD: 13-13 overall.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Andrea Hines, sr., P-2B; Leigh Emans, sr., 1B; Chelsea Wheeler, jr., SS; Kristen McKamey, jr., OF; Carrie Bassitt, so., 3B; Heather May, so., C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Chelsea Wheeler, jr., SS.
NOTABLE: Chelsea Wheeler is an excellent threat to bunt for the Pirates. Wheeler is a lefthanded batter who can effectively lay the ball down the line. Wheeler also poses a very strong arm from the short stop position and brings above average speed to the base paths for Dan Gillett's squad.
HEAD COACH: Eric Mulholland (8th year, 79-59).
2007 RECORD: 17-4 overall, 9-1 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Amanda Ellis, sr., OF; Paige Strahm, sr., 1B; Ashley Baker, sr., SS; Autumn Harley, sr., P-OF; Lynne Summers, sr.; 2B; Jann Kemerly, sr., P-U; Jackie Brezina, sr., C; Courney Holsinger, jr., 3B; Megan Nalle, sr., P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Loren Powell, sr., 3B; Ashley Mathias, sr., OF; Heidi Allen, sr., U; Hilary Crawford, soph., 1B-OF; Laurie Sherman, fresh., C.
NOTABLE: Ashley Baker and Autumn Harley were both first-team all-MAL picks last season, when Blue Devils set school record with 17 wins. The whole starting lineup returns from that team, which was second in MAL.
HEAD COACH : Jim Wagner (3rd year).
2007 RECORD: 12-10 overall.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Heather Bartz, sr., P; Genna Carpenter, sr., CF; Janell Herron, sr., 2B; Lisa Karhoff, sr., 3B; Jodi Birkemeier, jr., INF; Kristy Birkemeier, jr., SS; Breanne Schroeder, jr., C; Ashley Birchmeier, sr., 1B; Paige Gerdeman, so., SS; Mackenzie Vorst, so., LF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Leslie Donaldson, jr., OF; Nicole Kahle, jr., OF; Katie Tourjee, so., LF-2B.
NOTABLE: The Columbus Grove softball program enters its fourth season and should be better then last season's 12-10 record. The Bulldogs will have senior Heather Bartz on the mound looking to improve upon her decent numbers of a year ago (12-9 overall, 2.76 ERA). Genna Carpenter and Janell Herron are three year letterwinners who should be looked upon to have quality offensive numbers for the coach Jim Wagner's squad.
HEAD COACH : Tim Eding & Jordan Streicher (4th year, 23-39).
2007 RECORD: 9-13 overall, 3-3 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ashley Burke, sr., SS-1B; Emily Havler, sr., 2B; Allison McKean, sr., C; Jessica Brown, jr., OF; Janelle Doenges, jr., OF; Jessica Hanefeld, jr., P-1B; Brooke Tegenkamp, jr., INF-OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kyleigh Holtsberry, so., INF-OF-P; Stephanie Ream-Kistler, sr., OF; Danielle Higginbotham, jr., OF; Megan Meeks, jr., INF-OF; Megan Terhark, jr., INF-OF; Marlene Bradley, so., OF.
NOTABLE: Jessica Hanefeld picked up 2nd team PCL honors while Allison McKean was an honorable mention PCL selection.
HEAD COACH : Carly Frey (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 7-14 overall, 2-7 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brooke Woodward, sr., SS; Sara DeVore, sr., P-CF; Jackie Reffitt, sr., 1B; Gloria Basinger, jr., C; Melissa Wiess, jr., 3B; Lauren Rettig, soph., 3B; Lynsey Harris, soph., 2B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kristen Kirchner, sr., UT; Rachel Reichley, soph., UT; Hallie Snodgrass, fr., UT; Kayla Rossman, fr., P; Nicole Lawrence, fr., 1B/OF; Stacey Marshall, soph., UT.
NOTABLE: Frey takes over the softball program at Cory-Rawson and has just 13 players on the roster this season. She is looking to establish a winning attitude for the program at the school.
HEAD COACH : Matt Hoiles (9th year, 169-59).
2007 RECORD: 21-6 overall, 11-3 Suburban Lakes League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brooke Morgart, sr., SS; Megan Morgart, sr., OF; Brittany Dauterman, sr., P; Liz Wagner, sr., 1B; Danielle Barndst, sr., OF; Kelsey Feasel, jr., Uti; Megan Oller, jr., OF; Kristie Chatman , jr., UTI; Emily Reynolds, so., 3B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Marissa Lee, fr., P; Samantha Pollar, so., UTI; Shelby George, so., UTI; Vanessa Schwind, so., C.
NOTABLE: Elmwood once again is the team to beat in the SLL after being picked to win the league title. Brooke Morgart is a two time first team all-Ohio pick and has signed a full-ride scholarship with Ohio University while Brittany Dauterman has signed to continue her career at the University of Findlay.
HEAD COACH: Sarah Haynes (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 18-8 overall, 6-4 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Danielle Reinhart, sr., 2B-P; Jenna Brandt, sr., OF-C; Melissa Brickner, sr., 3B; Nikki Dull, sr., P-OF; Megan Reinhart, sr., C; Lindsay Vaughn, sr., OF; Jessica Lynch, jr., OF-C; Megan Kapelka, sr., 1B-P; Samantha Siebenaller, jr., SS-OF; Kelly Hopple, sr., 2B-SS.
TOP PROSPECTS: Megan Scherger, fr., 3B-1B-OF; Alexis Creager, so., P-2B-OF.
NOTABLE: Sarah Haynes will begin her frist year at the helm of Hopewell-Loudon softball program after the Chieftais went 18-8 last season. Eight seniors return after lettering last season. From that group Haynes is looking for someone to step forward and take a leadership role so that the Chieftains don't stay satisfied with last season's success.
HEAD COACH : Jeff Clement (2nd year, 6-14).
2007 RECORD: 6-14 overall, 3-3 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Liz Foppe, sr., OF; Billie Jean Gerding, sr., 3B; Megan Heitmeyer, sr., OF-P; Kasie Bellmann, jr., 2B-OF; Leah Gerding, jr., INF-OF; Megan Jorrey, jr., C; Gina Verhoff, jr., 1B-OF-P; Kim Berheide, so., C-SS-P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Karri Clementz, sr., P; Abby Schroeder, sr., INF.
NOTABLE: Kalida will need to learn how to win the close games after losing a total of 8 games by two runs or less. The Wildcats will also need to replace pitcher Kelly Schnipke who pitched 1161/3 of the teams 1361/3 innings last season with 147 strikeouts.
HEAD COACH : Jackie Gerten (2nd year, 6-18).
2007 RECORD: 6-18 ovearll, 4-3 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dani Mangas, sr., P; Anea Escamilla, sr., OF; Jacqui Westrick, sr., INF-C; Kayla Nuveman, jr., INF; Chelsea Gerten, so., INF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Shelby Schroeder, jr., OF; Sheri Mangas, fr., INF; Molly Dunham, jr., OF; Ciarra Ybarra, jr., OF.
NOTABLE: With only five returning letterwinners it will be difficult for the Vikings to improve upon last season's 6-18 mark. However, Leipsic does return senior Dani Mangas who eanred second team BVC and first team Putnam County League accolades last season.
HEAD COACH : Jeff Craig (11th season, 178-77).
2007 RECORD: 12-11 overall, 7-2 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jacki Chiow, sr., C; Abby Dean, sr., P; Amanda Schimmoeller, sr., SS; Elyse, Marshall, sr., CF; Ashley Hunker, sr., P-3B; Jerrica Carpenter, sr., INF; Ali Meadows, sr., 1B; Anna Harpst, sr., 2B; Drew Dotts, jr., OF; Kara Marshall, so., C-OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Larissa Lugo, sr., 3B-OF; Katy Glick, jr., OF; Kirstie Bond, jr., P; Tiffany Bennett, jr., INF.
NOTABLE: Pitcher Abby Dean enters her senior season having previously earned three first team BVC selections. Anna Harpst was an all-conference second baseman last season and she will bring back her soild glove to right side of the defense.
HEAD COACH : Nick Shoop (2nd year, 10-12).
2007 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 4-5 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Erin Wells, jr., P; Alex Smith, jr., P-OF; Michelle Metzger, jr., INF; Ashley Latta, jr., SS; Chelsea Cramer, jr., C; LeeAnn Bundy so., INF-OF; Alycia Nichols, jr., INF-OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Not available.
NOTABLE: Erin Wells was a first team BVC selection while Chelsea Cramer brough home second team honors for the Panthers.
HEAD COACH : Chris Rump (8th year, 90-53).
2007 RECORD: 17-4 overall, 6-0 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brittany Wagner, sr., OF; Carrie Griggs, jr., C; Lindsay Pester, jr., 3B; Marcie Wenzinger, jr., P-IF; Danielle Schroeder, sr., P-IF; Jessica Schnipke, sr., IF; Abby Lammers, sr., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Abbey Wenzinger, sr., IF-OF; Trisha Niese, soph., OF; Marcie Palte, soph., IF; Kayla Schroeder, soph., 1B-OF; Sara Schroeder, fr., 1B-OF; Kara Vennekotter, fr., 1B-OF; Sarah Carpenter, fr., OF.
NOTABLE: The WIldcats won the Putnam County League title and advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in school history last season. They will have to replace all-Ohio pitcher Lisa Brown who graduated after posting a 15-3 record with a stellar 1.31 ERA.
HEAD COACH : Jamie Lininger (5th year, 62-40).
2007 RECORD: 21-6 overall, 7-3 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Megan Ellis, sr., 3B-C; Michelle Borer, jr., OF; Kaiti Hughes, jr., 1B-3B; Lauren Mathias, jr., SS-C; Jackie Reinhart, sr., CF; Jessica Tiell, jr., OF-1B; Paula Kelbley, so., OF-1B; Taylor Mathias, so., P-INF-OF; Sarah Reinhart, so., 2B-OF; Jami Wagner, so., OF-2B-SS.
TOP PROSPECTS: JoAnn Borer, fr., C-OF; Danielle Coleman, fr., OF; Kylie Mathias, fr., OF-2B-P; Shana Scherger, fr., 2B-P-SS-OF.
NOTABLE: New Riegel returns seven players who had a batting average of .343 or better and the Blue Jackets will need to rely on the offense with the additions of Bellevue, Oregon Clay and Margaretta to the schedule.
HEAD COACH: Frankie Hernandez (1st year).
2007 RECORD: Not available.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Heather King, sr., C; Brittany Trevino, sr., P-3B; Stephanie Miller, sr., 1B-P; Baley Delancy, sr., CF; Ryan Herringshaw, sr., 2B-3B; Dani Morelock, sr., LF-C; Jenna Swartz, sr., 2B; Brittany Vanaman, jr., SS-P; Caitlin Cotterman, so., 3B-P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Not available.
NOTABLE: With ten freshman out for softball this season first-year coach Frankie Hernandez will have a solid group of girls from which to build upon for the future. Don't write off the 2008 Tigers, eight seniors return with two letters apiece including Brittany Trevinio, a dependable top of the rotation pitcher.
HEAD COACH : Joe Modica (8th year).
2007 RECORD: 4-14 overall.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jill Hohlbein, sr., C; Abby Krouskop, jr., OF-IF; Adria Wannemacher, jr., IF; Amy Hohlbein, jr., IF; Brooke Koester, jr., IF; Sami Modica, soph., P-IF-OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Gina Beining, sr., IF-OF; Crystal Schumaker, sr., IF-OF; Misty Justice, jr., C-IF-OF; Brooke Moore, fresh., P-IF-OF; Taylor Moore, fresh., P-IF-OF.
NOTABLE: Big Green have a number of newcomers that will see playing time forcing the team to focus on the basics.
HEAD COACH : Kurt Mullins (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 3-19 overall, 1-8 Blanchard Valley Conference, 1-4 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Courtney Watkins, sr., INF; Claire Werling, sr., INF; Sarah Fenstermaker, jr., OF; Jayma George, jr., C; Jessica Watkins, so., P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kristyn Hovest, fr., INF; Grace Basinger, fr., C-INF-OF.
NOTABLE: Pandora-Gilboa will be stretched thin this season with only 10 players listed on the roster. Senior Courtney Watkins is a 3-year letterwinner and a 1st team Putnam County League selection last season.
HEAD COACH : Mike Meyer (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 10-14 overall, 3-5 Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Michelle Erford, sr., CF-OF; Michelle Nickles, jr., INF; Ariel Kinder, jr., 3B; Chelsea Reese, jr., P-INF; Becky Suhggart, so., P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tiffany Ehlers, so., C; Kelsey Wright, so., OF-INF; Jessie Moll, fr., P-UTI; Tori Meyer, fr., P-UTI.
NOTABLE: With only two seniors on the team and only a handful of upperclassmen coach Mike Meyer plans on building the Patrick Henry softball program through the younger girls on the team. Twelve freshmen came out for the team giving Meyer a deep class to build around.
HEAD COACH : Doug Ebright (1st year).
2007 RECORD: 8-15 overall, 4-10 North Central Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kelli Kotterman, sr., CF-P; Kristi Kotterman, sr., SS; Allysha Wells, sr., 3B; Cheri Schoenberger, so., P; Candace Stone, sr., SS-OF; Amanda Altvater, sr., C; Mindi Justice, so., OF; Amanda Wetherill, so., 1B-DH; Maisea Hicks, jr., 2B; Alicia Naus, jr., OF-1B; Ashley Haus, jr., C; Lauren Humphrey, jr., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kaylee Sheets, jr., 2B-INF; Chelsea Dilley, sr., 1B-INF; Megan Borkosky, P-DH.
NOTABLE: Kristi Kotterman and twin sister Kelli return after batting .479 and .463 respectively in their junior year. Kristi earned first team all-NCC honors while Kelli collected a second team NCC nod.
HEAD COACH : Theresa Webb (13th year, 155-154).
2007 RECORD: 18-9 overall, 6-4 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Caitlin Bosak, sr., OF; Jordan Geroski, sr., CF; Dani Papenfus, sr., SS; Lindsay Schiefer, sr., 1B; Francena Tate, jr., 3B; Taylor Burns, so., LF; Tara Emerine, so., OF: Lauren Geroski, so., C; Cassi Papnfus, so., OF; Chelcie Rutter, so., P-2B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Katelyn Schiefer, fr., P-2B; Leighanee Stahl, fr., OF-C.
NOTABLE: After a stellar freshman campaign in which she earned first team MAL honors, sophomore Lauren Geroski will return along with four classmates who lettered last season. Jordan Geroski picked up a second team MAL nod after batting .345.
HEAD COACH : Keith Diebler (1st year, 65-65 at Gibsonburg).
2007 RECORD: 13-9 overall, 8-6 Northern Ohio League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Danielle Bachtell, sr., OF; Chelsea Jury, sr., P/INF; Nikki Linhart, sr., P/INF; Emily Graham, so., OF; Rebecca Gamby, sr., P/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Dana Haubert, jr., OF; Katie Wetherell, jr., IF; Kala Frey, so., OF; Allie Cox fr., INF/C; Olivia Frey, fr., INF; Shayleen Wood, fr., INF; Logan Meddings, fr., P; Lindsey Kessler, fr., P.
NOTABLE: The Rams return 1st team division III all Ohio selection Rebecca Gamby who has committed to Marshall after posting a .492 batting average along with 11 homeruns and 23 RBI's.
HEAD COACH: Stacy Sharp (3rd year).
2007 RECORD: 7-2 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Hanna Burke, sr., P; Shelby Calland, sr., INF; Janelle Wood, sr., INF; Laura Thornton, jr., INF; Kelly Gilbert, jr., INF; Mackenzi Monday, jr., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Hannah Shank, fr., INF-OF; Madi Coldren, fr., INF-OF.
NOTABLE: Hanna Burke had a 2.86 earned run average to go along with 107 strikeouts while Laura Thornton hit for a .463 average as both players earned all-BVC honors. Janelle Wood added a .362 batting average, good for 1st team BVC.
HEAD COACH: Sally Kloepfer (5th year, 22-50).
2007 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 5-4 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kayla Thomas, sr., 3B-P; Elizabeth Hagerty, sr., C; Krystin Breidigan, sr., SS-UTI; Reanna Wisner, sr., OF-UTI; Sarah Pelphrey, sr., INF; Cally Lee, sr., OF; Jennifer Wagner, jr., P-INF; Erin Parseau, jr., OF; Dustie Ward, so., 1B-UTI.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kelsey Thomas, fr., INF; Amber Kloepfer, fr., P; Ashley Parseu, fr., OF; Sierra Hutton, fr., INF-1B; Krysta Wisner, fr., C-UTI; Melissa Nau, fr., INF; Sarah Wagner, fr., UTI; Shelby Williams, fr., OF; Chelsea Shane, fr., OF; Kirsten Kloepfer, jr., OF.
NOTABLE: Kayla Thomas already holds the school record for stolen bases in a career with 44 and should add a few more to that total this season. Elizabeth Hagerty has a chance to break school records this season in career RBIs, runs in a career and hits in a career while Thomas and Krystin Breidigan have a shot at passing the career runs record. Hagerty has 40 runs while the record is 41 runs. Thomas and Breidigan have 36 and 32 runs respectively.